Plastic in the Pacific Ocean
It really doesn’t take much to get me excited but if there is one environmental issue that keeps me up at night, it’s the plastic island called the Pacific Garbage Patch. You’ve already heard me talk about the Pacific Gyre and the 40+ million ton island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.
It all starts when someone accidently drops a water bottle which goes down a storm drain then floats out to the ocean where 7 to 20 years later, it winds up in this big pile of plastic. Over the next several years, it breaks down into tiny pieces; the fish eat it, birds eat it, turtles eat and they all die.
Worse than this (you thought it couldn't get worse), these small plastic particles mimic playnkton, the bottom of our food chain. Right now, it is more likely sealife is eating plastic rather than playnkton, effectively taking playnkton out of our food chain.
In my last blog, I mentioned Boxed Water is Better and how they have started putting water in cartons rather than plastic. Well, there are two reasons to use paper:
- Paper is a renewable resource. If you cut down a tree, you can plant a new one to replace it. Plastic on the other hand comes from oil and once we use that, it’s gone. This might be a good moment to mention the concept of Peak Oil which is mostly media hype but does define a moment when there is less oil left in the ground than there is oil that we’ve used.
- Paper is biodegradable. If you drop your water carton and it ends up in the ocean and fish or turtles or birds eat it, they will digest the paper. It doesn’t sit inside of them and make them die a slow, horrible painful death of choking or starvation
Consider the Environmental Impact
This Whale died with 18 square feet of plastic in it's stomach
Plastic in the Pacific Ocean, It Gets Worse
In case you think I’m crazy, check out these pics by Chris Jordan from the Island of Midway:
This Leatherback Turtle thought it was eating a Jellyfish
More Environmental Disasters Ahead
The problem gets worse. We now know there is plastic in all the oceans in the world and we now know it is impacting most sea life. See, the BP Oil disaster was a bad thing but that oil will eventually disipate, it's a natural toxin. Plastic on the other hand, once plastic has been broken down to it's most basic element, there isn't anything that can absorb or convert plastic. It just keeps on going.
There are things we can do about it, ways being investigated into how to clean it up. If you'd like to know more about what you can do to help, come visit me at www.GreenCertifiedWeb.org.
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