We are the Stupidest Creatures that ever walked the planet!

We are the Stupidest Creatures that ever walked the planet!

Posted on 12. Aug, 2010 by in eat me, mishmash, odd stuff

The first human-made plastic called Parkesine (later celluloid) was invented by Alexander Parkes in 1855. However it was in the 1950’s that Dupont really pushed the plastic boat out…

In roughly 60 years ago, over, one billion tons of plastic have been created from oil, used and discarded, a small insignificant proportion gets recycled… but most ending up in landfill or in the oceans

Plastic as we all know floats, allowing currents to move trash deposited at sea to calm areas called Gyres where ocean currents cross and change direction. World-wide there are 5 of these gyres, and they are filling up with debris, creating man-made island of rubbish.

• Great North Pacific or Eastern Garbage Patch
• South Pacific Gyre
• North Atlantic or Sargasso Sea Gyre
• South Atlantic Gyre
• Indian ocean Gyre

These plastic islands range in density from solid areas to a higher than normal concentration of chemical particles held floating just below the surface. The smallest estimate of comparative size is that the Great Pacific Patch is as big as Texas or if you include minor polluted waters the size of the continental United States of America.

And we did it all in less than 60 years… An impressive piece of self destruction!

We like to think of ourselves as the intelligent (contrary to the evidence) dominant species. But we forget that we are in some ways, just part of the food chain, at the top of it, admittedly but still a part of it. What happens lower down still affects us. Apart from what havoc we are wreaking on land, we seem to be especially wilful at sea.

In Landfill plastic will take 1000 years to degrade, at sea that is possible 500 years. So in 2 generations we have created a problem that will be with us for somewhere between 16 and 30 generations… assuming we will be around that long that is!

Now, plastics break down in a different way to organic matter, they photo-degrade not bio-degrade. This means the plastic break down to smaller and smaller fragments, to all intent and purpose it never goes away.

On land these small fragments contaminate soil, and waterways, eventually pass into grazing animal’s digestions.

At sea these particles or nurdles float just below the water’s surface like confetti or a powder held in suspension.

At one end of the oceans food chain, filter feeders mistake the plastic suspension for fish eggs and krill. The toxins’ in the plastic, if it doesn’t kill them outright, is passed on to fish when they eat them… moving onto larger sea mammals etc…and ultimately us

On a larger scale plastic bags floating in water look like jelly fish and are eaten in great numbers by mammals like the minke whale and turtles. While 6 pack plastic rings snares sea birds and fish. Straws, and plastic food wrapper are also killers, in fact if it’s plastic and floats it kills.

Research show that these Garbage islands are growing as our love affair with all thing plastic continues.

In order to address the problem we have to reduce the amount of rubbish going into the world’s oceans. A drastic curbing of the free plastic shopping bag and un-necessary packaging would be a start coupled with stronger recycling and disposal policies.

And we have to have an international collective effort to remove these islands from our oceans along with international pressure on oil companies to clean up their mess in other parts of the world not just the Gulf.

Do this and our oceans might survive… do nothing and I wonder what the next 60 years will hold for my grandchildren.

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