Plastic’s Intimacy With Our Oceans

Plastic’s Intimacy With Our Oceans

The following story is republished from and In Association with reuseit.com®. . . Helping advance the adoption of reusable shopping bags and reduction of plastic bags as a lifestyle choice. This article provides a "snapshot" of just how bad plastic litter is in our oceans and the harmful effects of this intimate relationship.  Please read it and forward on to others. For more information, visit Plastic in Our Oceans in our Newsroom.

Overview

We assume a few of you have heard about the "Texas-sized plastic island" off California's west coast, but how about the disturbing news of plastic beaches and plastic sand?! Plastic is accumulating at an alarming rate in our oceans - wreaking havoc on wildlife, polluting our beaches and entering our food chain. Our addiction to use-and-toss items is causing this growing problem.

As reported by National Geographic

The success of the plastic bag has meant a dramatic increase in the amount of sacks found floating in the oceans where they choke, strangle, and starve wildlife and raft alien species around the world, according to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, who studies the impact of marine debris.

Barnes said that plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78 degrees North [latitude] to Falklands 51 degrees South [latitude], but I'll bet they'll be washing up in Antarctica within the decade."

Did you know?

  • Plastic bags are among the top two items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups. (Ocean Conservancy)
  • Plastic bags wrap around living corals, quickly "suffocating" and killing them. (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the Central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • Plastic pieces can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like PCB and DDT up to one-million times background levels. As a result, floating plastic is like a poison pill. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • Each year, enough trash - most of it plastics - floats down the Los Angeles River to fill the Rose Bowl two stories deep. (Los Angeles Times, "Altered Oceans")
  • Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. Adult albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks. (L.A. Times)
  • On a single day in 2007, nearly 400,000 volunteers around the world picked up more than 6 million pounds of trash. A majority of the items were single-use disposable plastic items, such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. (Ocean Conservancy International)
  • Since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, "every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere." (Research Triangle Institute)

What can you do? Help spread the word and do your part to eliminate wasteful consumption of plastics. reuseit.com features high-quality, reusable shopping bags that will help you eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of those plastic and paper shopping bags choking our planet. It’s an easy way to do your part!
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