Catalyst: Plastic Oceans was recently aired on ABC in Australia.
This show is about the current research on marine debris by CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and it highlights the plastic pollution problem in Australia.
The flesh footed Shearwater populations on Lord Howe island are an example of how bad the plastic pollution problem has become; many shearwaters, both adult and chicks have been many found dead with stomachs full of plastic. Examinations of these birds show they are the most contaminated marine bird populations on the planet; they had concentrations of mercury up to 1000-3000ppm; anything above 4.3ppm is toxic to birds!
Plastic that has been in the ocean for many years acts as a sponge to contaminants in seawater, and they stick to the surface of the plastic. The surface of marine plastic has been found to contain 1000times more contaminants than in the surrounding seawater. This is also a major issue for humans, as these toxins accumulate up to food chain, ending with us!
So everyone needs to try and avoid using single-use plastics…and if it is absolutely necessary make sure they are reused or recycled!