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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Tidal wave of Debris

We are all aware of the negative impact humans are having on the marine environment, but having just read a report from Ocean Conservancy I wasn't personally aware of the massive scale of the problem. Heres a brief extract from the press release following findings from a 1 day global marine clear up initiative last year.

"A tidal wave of man-made trash is threatening world oceans, damaging wildlife, tourism and seafood industries and piling additional stress on seas already hit by climate change, conservationists said on Tuesday.

A report by U.S.-based Ocean Conservancy detailed what it called a "global snapshot of marine debris" based on itemized records of rubbish collected by nearly 400,000 volunteers in 104 countries and places in a single day in September 2008.

Close to 7 million pounds (3.2 million kg) of trash -- the weight of 18 blue whales -- was collected from oceans, lakes, rivers and waterways in the 2008 cleanup, the group said in its report "A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris and What We Can Do About It".

It warned of a "tidal wave of ocean debris," calling it a major pollution problem of the 21st century. Topping the list of the 11.4 million items of trash collected were cigarette butts, plastic bags, and food wrappers and containers. In the Philippines alone, 11,077 diapers were picked up and 19,504 fishing nets were recovered in Britain.

"Our ocean is sick, and our actions have made it so," Vikki Spruill, president and chief executive of Ocean Conservancy, said in a statement accompanying the report. "We simply cannot continue to put our trash in the ocean. The evidence turns up every day in dead and injured marine life, littered beaches that discourage tourists, and choked ocean ecosystems," she said."

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