Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ocean Plastic Is Turning Our Seas Into A Synthetic Soup

It was the morning after the storm the night before. As I stood on what the evening before had been a pristine picture-perfect beach, I could hardly believe my eyes. The beach was covered in debris – as if someone had emptied a garbage can and scattered the contents over the sand. There was plastic wherever I looked. Plastic cups, plastic toys, sections of plastic rope and tangled up in the seaweed which had also come ashore, more plastic bags than I could count. Slabs of polystyrene, plastic bottles and even a container large enough to be the proverbial kitchen sink. I was reminded of the quote by Sir Richard Attenborough, “There is no away – because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible. When you cast it into the ocean, there is no away.” 

Sky News in the United Kingdom has launched an Ocean Rescue campaign with a 45-minute film released on 25 January called “A Plastic Tide” that puts the ocean plastic problem into perspective.

“The ocean where life on Earth began is being turned into a synthetic soup,” the narration begins by Sky News science correspondent Thomas Moore, as he embarks on a journey to explore the immense problem of plastic pollution. He begins in Mumbai, India, where a city beach once used for swimming and playing is now completely covered in plastic garbage. Surprisingly, it’s not from direct littering, but from the ocean tide; every day brings a fresh layer of garbage, which could come from anywhere on the planet. No beach or shoreline is unaffected by this pollution. Due to the ocean currents and waterways that flow into those oceans, plastic waste that’s tossed in Australia or Japan could just as easily end up in Scotland or Nova Scotia.

Read more about ocean plastic and what we can do about it in my guest blog for TIPA.

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