The world's oceans -- now more plastic than plankton
New book highlights the danger of pollution in the world's oceans.
The image of a fisherman reeling in a boot at the end of his line is a comedic staple, but the reality is that he is far more likely to reel in a plastic container, and there's nothing humorous about it.
For years,everything, including the kitchen sink, has been dumped into the ocean, with deadly results.
According to environmental activist Capt. Charles Moore, "between 250 and 3 billion tons of plastic are produced every year. To get that into terms you can understand, every two years we make enough plastic to the equivalent of the weight of the 7 billion people on earth."
Moore, who has just published a new book, "Plastic Ocean" says that less than 5 percent of the world's plastic is recycled, and 3 percent of the world's plastic is entering the oceans. And it's killing animals.
"We know over 100,000 albatross chicks are dying every year with their stomachs full of plastic; we have evidence that about 100,000 marine mammals die every year being tangled in plastic," Moore said. Animals routinely try to eat bits of plastic, thinking the brightly colored pieces are food. Instead, the plastic is impossible to digest, and remains trapped in their stomachs slowly killing the creatures.
The world must realize, that the oceans are not pristine environments but rather becoming littered with garbage and filth, the detritus of "modern civilization."
In his book, Moore talks about discovering tons of plastics floating in an endless spiral in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He explains that plastic enters the ocean from rivers, beaches, and ships.
"Not only all the navies of the world but all the merchant vessels of the world, until the 1980s were routinely dumping all their garbage at sea."
Today, he charges that ships of all types from all around the world continue to ignore international agreements, and still dump their trash into the ocean. Among that trash is chemicals, pesticides, nuclear waste, and even chemical weapons such as nerve and mustard gas. And all these are entering the food chain.
Concluding his book, more challenges all people to take responsibility for the cleanliness of the oceans and the safety of the food chain in which the entire world relies upon for survival.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: plastic ocean, Capt. Charles Moore, pollution, plankton, dumping
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