By negligently discarding plastic items, especially plastic water bottles, fishing gear and plastic bags, people are unknowingly causing the deaths of millions of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles each and every year. We defile the face of the earth with plastic refuse creating waterway contamination.
Since the invention of plastic earlier this century, it has become a popular material used in a wide variety of unique and innovative applications. Plastic is used to make, or wrap around, many of the items we buy or use. The problem comes when we no longer want these items and how we dispose of them, particularly the throwaway plastic material used in wrapping or packaging. Plastic is handy, lightweight and easily discarded. Too easily discarded.
Plastics are utilized because they are easy and inexpensive to manufacture, strong and durable. Regrettably these same useful characteristics make plastic an overwhelming pollution problem. Inferior quality and low cost means plastic is readily discarded. Plastics take around 300 years to photo degrade. Its long life assures it survives in the environment for extended periods where it can do great harm. Because plastic does not easily decompose and requires high energy ultra-violet light to break down, the volume of plastic waste in the world’s oceans is steadily increasing. Plastic is now found in virtually all the oceans and rivers of the world, even the most remote and once pristine.
American oceanographer Charles Moore reports the volume of plastic pollution in the worlds oceans is so extensive it’s beyond cleaning up. A toxic plastic mass of refuse double the size of Texas swirls in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii. There the crew found that the water contained six parts of plastic for every part plankton, with a five fold increase in the amount of plastic between 1997 and 2007.
Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. That is an unconscionable amount of waste, so much that more than one million bags are used every minute and their impact on the planet is devastating. Plastic bags are only part of the problem. America alone, produces in excess of 800,000 tons of plastic bottle pollution every year, and the amount is growing. World-wide our precious planet is defaced and poisoned with more than 100 million tons of plastic pollution annually.
According to the California Coastal Commission, over 80 per cent of refuse within waterways, most of it being plastic, originates on land rather than coming from boats.
Fish, shellfish, sea birds and all other forms of aquatic life require a delicate balance of oxygen, nutrients and clean water to survive. Even small quantities of toxic products in the water can disrupt this balance, with long-lasting effects. Plastic pollution affects marine wildlife in deadly ways: entangling creatures and by being consumed. overmolding