A Fatal Addiction to Plastic – Trashing the Oceans and Our own Health

Ocean trash art - plastic soda bottle tops, lighters, misc bits of plastic

By Stephen Leahy

KAUAI, Hawaii, U.S., Apr 1, 2011 (IPS)

“Be fantastic, don’t use plastic!” chanted a troop of 10-year- olds from President Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Honolulu at the conclusion of an international conference on the millions of tonnes of trash that enter the oceans every year, with serious consequences for marine life and habitats as well as to human health and the global economy.

Most participants were in a celebratory mood at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, which concluded Mar. 25 with the Honolulu Commitment to address the growing problem of marine debris.

But Captain Charles Moore, the man who brought the world’s attention to the scope and scale of the problem, was not celebrating.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and every year it has only become worse,” Moore told IPS.

Moore is famous for revealing the immense amount of plastic in the north Pacific gyre, formed by ocean currents in a massive slow-moving whirlpool thousands of square kilometres in size.

Moore’s Algalita Marine Research Foundation documented that this vast expanse of oceans has about six kilogrammes of plastic for every kilogramme of plankton. He is careful to point out that there is no plastic island as reported in some media, it’s much more dispersed. Continue reading