Oceans Overcome With Floating TrashBy: Tina Volpe - March 30, 2014
Part of the debris that has been spotted during the search for the missing Malaysia aircraft in the Indian Ocean has brought to the forefront, the state of our oceans.
There is so much trash in our oceans that there are “patches” named for their pollution areas.
A lot of the trash is plastic, old appliances, cargo dumped from ships, and anything else that should have gone into landfills, but didn’t make it, according to the ocean advocacy group One World One Ocean.
We have become a “plastic” nation; it is in everything – toys, packaging, car parts, bags, bottles and what is worse is these plastics contain toxins that are detrimental to all life.
Not only does it entangle sea life, but also a lot of it is digested by wildlife, both ocean and birds alike. Activists who have studied this problem state that 92.5 percent of dead seabirds examined had ingested plastic in the amount of five percent of their total body weight. Sadly, 54 percent of marine mammals have been killed as a result of becoming entangled or ingesting this plastic that plagues our seas.
One of the biggest areas of trash is called “The Pacific Garbage Patch” and is the most well known collection of garbage, containing an estimated 3.5 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, and other plastic goods that have been gathered due to circling currents. These thousands of miles of toxic products lie between the west coast of the U.S. and the east coast of China and Russia.
That isn’t the worst of it, there are five ocean gyres cycling garbage in the northern and southern Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, northern and southern Pacific Ocean, and those are just the largest.
As the plastics float into the gyres they are broken down by salt and UV rays and begin releasing chemical properties into the water that then enter the food system, according to the Scripps Institute at the University of California San Diego.
These plastics contain chemicals such as DDT’s, (a colorless, crystalline, tasteless and almost odorless organochloride known for its insecticidal properties) PCB’s, (a persistent organic pollutant, PCB production was banned by the United States Congress in 1979) and PAH’s, (potent atmospheric pollutants identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic) in deadly quantities.
It not only becomes toxic for other creatures, but for humans who eat the fish and wildlife that consume it, and the entire food chain is negatively affected.
What to do? This question is answered by the advocacy group One World One Ocean: Stop using plastic bags, straws, plastic plates, Styrofoam and utensils. Don’t use plastic water bottles, use reusable water containers instead. Buy items with minimal plastic, and recycle all of your plastics and electronics safely. This is a good start to resolving this atrocity.
Image via YouTube