Plastic is everywhere and in everything we use and consume, for most of us we were born into the age of plastic. It’s only when you step back and look, that you really see how much of it is around us and quite possibly in us.

The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes who publicly demonstrated it at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. Each decade after that saw the introduction of new more versatile materials. Polyethylene, today’s most widely used plastic evolved out of the need for a superior insulating material that could be used for such applications as radar cable during World War II.

Plastic is an amazing invention that has sure made our everyday lives that much richer and in turn has created our throwaway society, this would be an ideal senerio, except for one HUGE drawback. Plastic isn’t green, it doesn’t break down readily.

In our lifetime it has become one of the major pollutants that are destroying our planet. Being a non-degradable, extremely toxic compound, it can only break down into smaller pieces which eventually end up in our food supply and drinking water.

There is no way whatsoever that we can safely dispose of plastic. It’s been estimated that it may take up to 500 years or more for a plastic bag to decompose in a landfill, imagine how long it would take for that 50 inch big screen plasma.

One of the biggest problems that plastic creates is in polluting our oceans. Today there is more toxic plastic in the ocean than life giving plankton. The current ratio is 6 to 1, that’s 6 times more plastic than plankton. Small fish mistake the small floating plastic pieces for food, they in turn are eaten by larger fish, we catch and consume the larger fish, we ingest the plastic, we sicken and die.

Globally, 100 trillion tons of plastic waste is generated each year, and at least 10% of it ends up finding its way to the sea, it’s been estimated that there are between 46,000 – 250,000 floating pieces of plastic for each kilometer of ocean, some of which is circling the globe 30 meters deep.

Each hour North Americans consume and discard 2.75 million plastic, water and soda bottles, that’s a whopping 24 billion a year. At least 80% of that plastic consumed on land ends up in the sea, the other 20% is generated from Trans-oceanic shipping.

Each year 1,000,000 sea birds, and 100,000 sharks, dolphins, whales and turtles die from ingesting plastic. Recently plastic found in the stomach of an albatross on the west coast had a serial number on it that was traced to a Second World War plane that was shot down just south of Japan in 1944.

Plastic accumulates in regions of the oceans called Gyres (garbage patches), where currents circle and push water toward the center, trapping the floating bits. There are five major Gyres in the world, one located in each major ocean.  Each Gyre is estimated to be the size of Texas and growing exponentially each year.

When a renowned scientist was asked on how to clean up this mess, her replay was:

“Cleaning up what is out there is really not feasible, and would likely cause as much harm as good because of all the other small creatures in the ocean that would get filtered out too,” said Law. “So what’s left is hoping that nature break this plastic down over hundreds of years or millenia.”

“Ultimately, we need to prevent adding to what is out there,” she added.

In the meantime, each of us must deliberately reduce the amount of garbage we generate and, in particular, the quantity of disposable plastic that are carelessly being discarded– because the ocean and all of its life forms are suffocating and sickening and so are we.

We have to stop making our oceans our giant toilet bowl. We need the ocean for our survival. “We are the ocean and the ocean is us, without out it we perish, without us it flourishes.”

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Replant, Rethink…Regenerate

By: Master Tim Bell


One Response

  1. […] 2:30 pm – Wrote a blog post – HERE […]

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