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Thursday, 27 March 2008

Plastics choking our oceans

The BBC recently produced a special news article which I found a real shocker. It was based on the planets use of plastics, especially cheap plastic bags and the vast appetite for them by rapidly developing nations like India and China. The island of Midway in the central Pacific has become one of the front lines for waste plastic accumulation as its in the path of ocean currents which deposit junk from all over the world onto the beaches at each incoming tide.

On the coral atoll of Midway in the central Pacific - famous for America's first victory over the Japanese fleet in World War Two - wildlife experts are facing a new battle against a rising tide of plastic waste.
The Midway Islands are home to some of the world's most valuable and endangered species and they all are at risk from choking, starving or drowning in the plastic drifting in the ocean.
Nearly two million Laysan albatrosses live here and researchers have come to the staggering conclusion that every single one contains some quantity of plastic.
About one-third of all albatross chicks die on Midway, many as the result of being mistakenly fed plastic by their parents.
He explained how some chicks never develop the strength to fly off the islands to search for food because their stomachs are filled with plastic.

But its not only Midway thats suffering from tonnes of cheap waste plastics, like toothbrushes, deodorant bottles, cotton buds, cigarette lighters, carrier bags etc its a similar story throughout the world. California's beaches are littered with fragments of broken down plastic and carrier bags which some have nicknamed "urban tumbleweed" because of its prevalence. Last year in Mumbai India, massive floods were attributed to the collection of waste plastic bags collecting in and blocking the drains.

Our oceans are stuffed with crap that takes centuries to degrade and we're surfing in it!. Its going to take a huge combined global effort to reduce the problem, but we can all do our bit: Sponsoring or organising beach cleans, taking litter home after a day at the beach, bin even just one piece of litter from the beach (even if its not yours)everytime you go, reduce or eliminate use of plastic bags, recycle all plastics etc. I'm not preaching as we all have free will to make our own choices but little changes can make a big difference....

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