Ocean plastic has once again made the headlines as we continue to see an increase in plastic pollution in our oceans. It is estimated the amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre has increased some 100-fold in the last four decades.
Scientists and environmentalists worldwide are saying that now is the time to listen to their warnings as we rapidly approach the point of no return.
A drumbeat of recent scientific studies emphasises an increasingly alarming convergence of crises for Earth’s oceans.
The amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre – a massive swirling vortex of rubbish – has increased 100-fold in the past four decades, phytoplankton counts are dropping, over-fishing is causing dramatic decreases in fish populations, decreasing ocean salinity is intensifying weather extremes, and warming oceans are speeding up Antarctic melting.
One warning of humanity’s increasingly deleterious impact on the oceans came from prominent marine biologist Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
In a 2008 article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jackson warned that, without profound and prompt changes in human behaviour, we will cause a “mass extinction in the oceans with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences”.
The statement might sound extreme, until one considers what science journalist Alanna Mitchell has written about the oceans: “Every tear you cry … ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by plankton.”
These and other issues will be discussed at the Rio 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainability, which will be held between June 20 and 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But marine biologists, oceanographers, and others who study the seas are telling Al Jazeera of the deepening impact humans are having on the oceans, and, from what they are saying, now is the time to listen.
As we continue to display a disregard for our planet by living in disposable societies where little or no measures are taken to dispose of our waste in an environmentally friendly way, the earth continues to stockpile our rubbish.
Although a lot of biodegradable plastics are now available on the market, many manufactures are choosing to use the less expensive alternatives.
If we do not launch a massive clean up operation and start to dispose of waste effectively sooner than later, we may see the demise of the oceans in our current life times.
The problem associated with ocean plastics is that the waste gets blown far out to sea where it remains unseen by the general population.
Do you think that we need to sponsor massive clean up operations where “garbage ships” are sent out into the ocean to collect the rubbish?
Oceans Of Pollution Continue To Rise Dramatically planetearthherald.com/oceans-of-poll…
— Planet Earth Herald (@PlanetHerald) June 19, 2012