From the obnoxious floating bottle to small plastic pellets, the Oceans could become more garbage dump than the expansive marine paradise that feeds, heals and nurtures our imagination and souls. We are dumping everything that humans can produce and other things that are by-products that we probably never considered. Now though, there are at least some measures that are being initiated to counter the gathering typhoon of plastic, although stopping the dumping, use and production of such environmentally destructive “products” is still the most effective remedy for what ails our earth. Diving robots are now documenting and perhaps are on the verge of helping us counter the 5 trillion of plastic items that are estimated to now cloud our oceans. In both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, floating trash islands of plastics and other garbage “twice the size of Texas” have been spotted.
The UN’s Food and Agricilture Organization (FAO) states:
“An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently float in the world’s oceans, up from none in 1950 and posing a question about their potential impact on a food supply chain that stretches from plankton – which have been filmed eating plastic pellets – up through shellfish, salmon, tuna and eventually humans, not to mention whales. Laboratory tests have shown that fish fed such plastics suffer poisoned livers and consequent metabolic problems. Yet little is known about just how much rubbish is being eaten in wild marine ecosystems, nor whether toxic chemicals remain in plastics after long exposure to sea water and pounding waves.”
Individually we can do our part. Perhaps next time you consider what to do on a free day, take a beach walk and collect discarded plastics on your shoreline. It’s healthy for you and good for the oceans. Of course, also take precaution that you do not carelessly pollute, and remove all trash after a day in the park or beach. The problem though has grown much bigger, and requires collective action, from penalizing polluters small and big to investing in revolutionary remedies, from investigation to implementation and potentially encouraging new ways of economic entrepreneurship that detract rather than add to pollution. Also Read: “High Cost of Pollution in Life and Money.”
Is the tide turning? Far from it, but we are at least trying to get a grasp of the problem and potential solutions: “A research vessel operated by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in collaboration with FAO, the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, has since 1975 plied the world’s oceans to collect information on marine resources and the health of the marine ecosystems and to help train scientists from around the world..” To read more about this effort to save planet, animals and man/woman see: “Plastic Pellets Everywhere & Diving Robot Sensors.”
See: For more on “Animal Welfare Ambassadors”
See: For more on “Social Responsibility Entrepreneurship”