Plastic In The Sea: More Plastic In The Sea Than Fish?
If anyone has ever been in the dating game – and we have all been there at some point – there is an old saying that goes – “plenty more fish in the sea”. In 2019 – there is so much plastic in the sea and oceans around the world (including Australia) – that some people as – is there more plastic in the sea than fish?
We have covered in a number of blogs the wreckage being caused by plastic in the sea – such as sea creatures caught in plastic, plastic bottles in the sea – and incredibly – even evidence of micro plastic in sea salt.
National Geographic reports that micro-plastics are found in 90% of table salts bought and consumed!
“Of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to a new analysis by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia.”
“The density of microplastics found in salt varied dramatically among different brands, but those from Asian brands were especially high, the study found. The highest quantities of microplastics were found in salt sold in Indonesia. Asia is a hot spot for plastic pollution, and Indonesia—with 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of coastline—ranked in an unrelated 2015 study as suffering the second-worst level of plastic pollution in the world.”
This of course is pretty mindboggling stuff and highlights the growing environmental impact of plastic.
Plastic in the sea: Is it true – is there more plastic in the sea than fish?
We covered previously how the huge amount of plastic in the sea that is visible -is like the tip of an iceberg – with the vast majority invisible and underwater (and taking hundreds of years to decompose).
The reality is that we can not really measure plastic in the sea – underwater – or in the form of micro plastics. See our blog on how to recycle bottle caps.
The website – www.businessinsider.com.au reports on some pretty shocking statistics:
“Already, the ocean is filled with about 165 million tons of plastic.”
“That’s 25 times heavier than the Great Pyramid of Giza.”
“By 2050, plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish, predicts a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum.”
We republish an infographic as below:
What is truly scary about the growing plastic in the sea – is that we are really only getting started with the destruction.
Plastic was only widely available from the middle of the 20th century – and the expansion in recent years due to a growing global population, and economic growth in more areas of the world (obviously a good thing) – has seen the huge downside of out of control plastic production, usage and disposal.
Even if we clamp down hugely on plastic production and usage – it will not change overnight – and it is inevitable that soon there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
Of course – the plastic pollution kills huge numbers of fish and birds.
Are there any solutions to plastic waste in the seas and oceans?
At Waster – we consistently argue that recycling will not solve this plastic crisis.
The only viable long term solution is to hugely reduce plastic usage wherever possible. Plastic has huge numbers of usages – which are vital – but in many areas (particularly single use plastics) – there are viable alternatives such as paper, cardboard, glass, metal – or simply no packaging at all – i.e. do we need plastic packaging on bananas for example?
There are thankfully – some new tech ideas coming on stream that can tackle the plastic in the sea nightmare.
One is the Seabin – an Australian invented rubbish bin which floats in the sea and collects trash.
It is now being trialled in WA – with some great results:
“We’re catching a lot of little plastics, lots of polystyrene beads, cigarette butts,” Ms Ledger said.
“We’re getting those out of the water so they can’t do any harm to our local wildlife.”
The device is about the same size as a standard rubbish bin and is able to trap 20 kilograms of rubbish at a time.
“We realise the Seabin is not going to be the answer to all our marine debris problems, but it is a great local solution for this area,” Ms Ledger said.
Check out a video below of it in action:
Conclusion on plastic in the sea:
It is time for reality at all levels of society. The plastic crisis is out of control – and is one of the biggest environmental issues we face globally.
Where will it stop?