Thursday, June 22, 2017

Plastic Ocean Pollution Alarming

If you are like me, your recycle barrel gets full 2x-3x faster than your garbage bin. We know it's important to recycle plastic and even have little rectangular symbols to help us decide what to recycle and where. 

However, plastic pollution in the oceans is another story. Up to 10 - 20 million tons of plastic litter finds its way into the oceans each year. 

Since the 1960s, scientists have been finding seabirds with stomachs full of plastic. Great floating plastic trash areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Great Atlantic Garbage Patch extend from coast to coast. And tiny fragments called microplastics are insidious in the environment as well. Ranging in size from 100 nanometers to 5 millimeters, they are part of everything from personal-care products to industrial abrasives used for paint removal/cleaning. 

But there is more to the problem, the small size of colorful plastic particles trick many different types of birds, mammals, fish, and more to think they have found food. So they eat them and then other animals eat those - all the way up the food network. Plus, plastics are made of chemicals that break down in the bodies of these consumers. It is not clearly known how much harm this causes (different organisms are different), just that many breakdown chemicals found in plastics are known carcinogens.

So, what can we do in addition to recycling the heck out of our trash? Rethink single use plastics like coffee cup lids. Bring your own to your local barista. If we all shift away from plastics as much as possible. We will make a difference. Go science! 

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god! This problem is really horrible, but we as a human can solve it with recycling and self-control: every single time when you decide to throw somewhere a garbage you should remember that this can cost the entire life of another Earth creatures! I never was an eco-activist, but once i was working on research for my biology project for rewarded essays and I was very surprised about this terrible damage that people make to the planet. We should read more to know what we do wrong. Thanx a lot for this article!