The use of plastic has grown since it's invention in 1907.
Just looking around my desk while I sit here thinking about this huge problem, I can see plastic-like substances making up keyboard, monitor, hub, mouse, and plugs, wires etc on the computer. Then the casing on the lip salve, the outer shell on the rubber, the glasses case, the cover on my notebook, the pot containing chewing gum, the ruler … why go on? Plastic is part of our lives.
Spanish researchers claim the Mediterranean Sea's biological richness and economic importance means plastic pollution is particularly hazardous.
Plastic has turned up in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles and whales. Very tiny pieces of plastic have also been found in oysters and mussels grown on the coasts of northern Europe. A high abundance of the material has also been found in other seas, including the Bay of Bengal, South China Sea and Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
US: Scientists from the University of Georgia report about eight million tonnes of plastic waste finding their way into the world's oceans each year, which is like covering an area 34 times the size of New York's Manhattan Island to ankle depth. The new study is said to be the most up to date effort to quantify how much of this debris is being dumped, blown or simply washed out to sea.
Researchers have for some time now reported on the mass of plastic caught up in ocean currents, just going round and round.
The shocking new study, also published in Science Magazine, helps quantify all the plastic in our oceans, not just the material seen floating on the sea surface or sitting on beaches.
What can ordinary people like you and I do about reducing the waste? At first, the problem seems beyond our control. And yet, for the planet's sake, we must make a personal effort. When next we make a purchase, choose a natural product—if possible. (Hehe. I haven't seen computers made of wood yet.)
The oceans have a direct impact on us as human beings. We eat the fish which have unknowingly ingested our rubbish. Does the chemical released in the fish gut pass on to us?
In the old days things were different. (I know, here comes another story from your grandmother.) In the early fifties, I can remember walking along to the middle of our street in Prahran, South Australia to buy the daily milk. I'd stand at the counter of the dairy and pass over our lidded can, which must have held about a pint. The shop lady would fill up my container and I'd carry it home to store in the metal ice box. A vendor with a horse and cart delivered ice to all the neighbors. Mothers would rush out with shovels to scrape up the horse droppings for their garden. Nothing was wasted.
In the 80s, bulk stores allowed the buyer to purchase food and cleaning products by weight, dispensed into their own containers. That's fantastic recycling. This seemed the ideal way to dispense with excess packaging. Couldn't have been popular because those stores have disappeared from the high street.
You and I need to think much more carefully about how we dispose of, recycle, and reduce our use of plastic. One way would be to take an old fashioned basket along to the market to buy fruit and vegetables, and reject the offered plastic bag.
Could you live without plastic? More importantly, do you want to?