This section provides some context to the environmental issues facing our oceans today with an emphasis on plastic pollution and with links to short videos. These are great for kids who are keen to learn more.
How bad is it? It’s a plankton eat plankton world
- It is estimated that within thirty years there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than there are fish.
- Most forms of plastic take an average of 800 years to break down, others more than 2,000.
- An estimated eight million tons of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans each year.
Figures from the Ocean Clean-Up (see “Foundations”) suggest that if we continue on our current trajectory the amount of plastic in the oceans will more than double by 2030. In the words of the inspiring Boyan Slat, founder of the Ocean Clean-Up, “it’s getting worse, fast”.
Degraded partially broken down plastic pieces are consumed by sea creatures that are unable to process them and suffer painful deaths. Then there are the micro-plastics, pieces of plastic so small that zooplankton confuse these particles with phytoplankton. Upwards through the food-chain these poisonous plastics proceed and the damage comes full circle when the fish reaches our plates. To paraphrase the words of the Maltese environmental minister speaking at an eco conference in 2016 “One day we’re taking our fish home in a plastic bag, the next the fish is carrying the bag.”
Forewarned is forearmed and we encourage visitors to our site to take some time to digest the sheer volume of the plastic problem. It is said that for every problem there is a solution and in the case of our polluted oceans it appears there are multiple solutions. The Ocean Clean-Up is deploying the first of its free floating barriers ahead of schedule and now anticipates that it will have removed 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within just five years from now. New technologies are coming to market including engineering break-throughs such as machines that sort and channel different plastics for different end-uses; pyrolysis which is the process of heating and treating plastic for re-use as marine fuel; ships (like the REV also discussed in “Foundations”) are being launched that will undertake scientific experiments in search of long term remedies and most importantly the world’s populations are becoming increasingly aware of the delicacy of our natural order. We have uploaded some short educational awareness videos and the trailers to some longer feature films and documentaries.
- The Plastic Pollution Coalition – Jeff Bridges “open your eyes”
- The Leatherback Trust-Removing plastic straw from leatherback turtle’s nostril
- A Plastic Ocean (2017)
- Straws (2017)
- Inside the Garbage of the World (2014)
- Trashed (2012)
- The end of the line (2009)
- Garbage Island (2008)
- Addicted to Plastic (2008)
- Blue Planet