In a disturbing new report, Charles J. Moore, a U.S. merchant marine captain and the founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute in Long Beach, California, sounds an urgent alarm on the state of Earth’s oceans. One of the world’s leading experts, Captain Moore says he is “utterly shocked” at the huge increase in plastic garbage found floating on the ocean’s surface in the past five years, “choking our future in ways that most of us are barely aware”.
Over the past 30 years, global production of plastic has risen by an astounding 500 percent, becoming an essential element in human existence. Much of what we consume is wrapped in plastic, and so are the gadgets we use. The problem is that huge amounts of the material ends up being dumped into the world’s oceans.
Captain Moore has estimated that, in just three days’, 2.3ΓÇëbillion pieces of plastic had flowed from the big urban conglomerates of Southern California into its coastal waters. As a result, even the remote Pacific has been affected and a giant floating “garbage patch” of plastic, the size of Lake Ontario, has accumulated.
Majetic albatrosses — the world’s biggest flying birds, with 9ft wingspans — swoop down to graze on the garbage patch, mistaking the rubbish for squid or fish. Their stomachs then fill with plastic until they are unable to take any real food. In all, it is estimated that 90 percent of seabirds that are found dead on beaches have consumed plastic. Whales, dolphins and other marine mammals have also been affected. One sperm whale found off the coast of Spain had swallowed 100 plastic bags and died a horrible death as a result.
Scientists are struggling to find a solution to the problem. One group used skimmers to physically scoop up the garbage from the beaches and the sea, but these cannot be effective on the open ocean, because of its wild turbulence. A better approach would be to reduce our reliance on plastic and we have made some steps toward that end here in the U.S. But much more needs to be done and I can only hope that it is not too late… (Scroll down for the videos.)
1. Plastic has been called one of the most pernicious threats to the future of our planet and the Pacific is said to have a floating ‘garbage’ patch the size of Lake Ontario.
2. Captain Charles J. Moore said plastic litter is ‘choking our future in ways that most of us are barely aware’.
3. It was recently estimated that 90 per cent of seabirds found dead on beaches have ingested plastic.
4. Because plastic doesn’t degrade it is ingested by small animals and then when they are eaten by larger marine fish, the plastic enters the food chain which ends up on our plates.
And here are the videos:
Source: The Mail Online.
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