Ever wonder how long that plastic bag will float in the surf if you don’t remove it? Did you know a cigarette butt thrown into the harbor will take up to five years to degrade? If you find that hard to comprehend we don’t even want to mention how long a plastic bottle will float around the ocean.
Studies have shown that degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us. Scientists have simulated the decomposition of polystyrene in the sea and found that it degraded at temperatures of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) . Researchers behind a new study, however, found that plastic breaks down at cooler temperatures than expected, and within a year of the trash hitting the water. Tons of plastics poison our seas and put not only the wildlife at risk but also humans as we consume seafood contaminated with micro plastics.
Let’s take the example of a plastic bag that you throw on the ground. There is a fair chance that the wind or the rain carries it to a waterway down the road or directly into the sea. It would ultimately end up littering a beach, killing an animal (a sea turtle or a dolphin will easily mistake it for a jellyfish) or slowly decompose into smaller particulates suspended in gigantic garbage patches in the middle of the ocean that keep on intoxicating the food chain and ultimately you! It may be on the West coast, East coast or anywhere in the world because of moving ocean currents. Plastic should be considered a new source of chemical pollution in the ocean.
So do you know how long it takes for garbage to decompose in sea water, not taking into account the chemicals / particulates released in the meantime?
It is simply unacceptable to leave a destroyed environment to our children. This type of poster needs be displayed at piers, beaches and schools near all oceans and waterways – then people will have no excuse.
It is estimated that approximately 44% of all seabirds eat plastic, apparently by mistake, sometimes with fatal effects. And many marine species are affected by plastic garbage—animals are known to swallow plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish in mid-ocean. According to a study published in November 2010’s Environmental Science and Technology, nearly 2,000 polyester fibers can shake loose from a single piece of clothing in the wash and, unfortunately, those tiny plastic bits are making their way into the ocean. It is our responsibility to take care of our trash, reuse & refill where we can, and recycle as many items as possible. Here are some plastic ocean facts from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
A nice way to help is to organize beach clean-ups; it’s fun and meaningful. Become a sea-angel! Water is precious! The more people that know about your action, the more you are going to inspire and educate others.
Choose to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and help Save the Planet!
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