Skip to content

The Arctic is drowning in plastic, and it could kill us all

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
4/21/2017 (6 months ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The oceans are responsible for a significant portion of our food supply.

Our planet is drowning in plastic, and this is becoming obvious, even in the pristine Arctic. Researcher now estimate that up to 1,200 tons of discarded plastic waste are circulating in Arctic waters, destroying the environment there with toxic chemicals and killing wildlife.

A sea lion is tangled in a net, the result of decades of human disregard for the environment.

A sea lion is tangled in a net, the result of decades of human disregard for the environment.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/21/2017 (6 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Arctic, ocean, plastic, pollution


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Humans have been using plastic for about a century, and its utilization has increased dramatically as we've learned to appreciate its many uses. It is lightweight, durable, and malleable, meaning we can make bags, bottles, and even cars out of the stuff.

However, plastic comes in many forms, making it difficult to sort and recycle. Some plastics contain toxic chemicals that can pollute water. Others come in colors that attract hungry animals. Simply put, plastic is bad for the environment. The qualities which make it useful to humans also make it dangerous to animals.


Each ocean appears to have concentrations of plastic where currents swirl pollution into particular areas. Most frequently, these are in the centers of gyres, which are large-scale patterns of circulation in the ocean. At the heart of each gyre is a place where plastic and pollution concentrates. Wildlife in these areas is particularly vulnerable.

It is common for dead birds to be found with large quantities of plastic bits in their stomachs. The plastic accumulates until the animal can't digest food anymore, then dies of malnutrition.

Plastic bottles piled on the beach. These are just a fraction that of the bottles that end up in the ocean from one beach, in the course of a day. Globally, the situation has reached crisis levels.

Plastic bottles piled on the beach. These are just a fraction that of the bottles that end up in the ocean from one beach, in the course of a day. Globally, the situation has reached crisis levels.


Fish and other creatures are also being found with plastic in their bodies.

The plastics can also release toxic chemicals which poisons the water and kills both plant and animal life.

Tires dumped into the ocean release toxins into the water than can poison the environment.

Tires dumped into the ocean release toxins into the water than can poison the environment.


The Arctic appears to be the newest region to be impacted by plastic pollution. Scientists have now discovered concentrations around Greenland and the Barents Sea near Norway and Russia. Some of the plastic is rather old, suggesting the problem has existed for a long time.

The problem isn't expected to improve anytime soon either. Humans continue to expand their use of plastics, which can only exacerbate the problem.

Netting and other flotsam lures birds and other wildlife into a trap from which few can escape.

Netting and other flotsam lures birds and other wildlife into a trap from which few can escape.


We rely on our oceans to feed much of the world. However, we are turning them into graveyards as we kill our sea life. We are scripting our demise through carelessness. As plastic invades the ocean and kills wildlife, we risk the extinction of keystone species, which can collapse the food chain.

We need to consider plans to reduce our use of plastic, to increase recycling, and above all, to recover plastic from the oceans where it has been deposited.

There are no comprehensive plans to do any of these things at this time.

Plastic in the ocean confuses predators. A clear baggie looks like a tasty jellyfish to a turtle.

Plastic in the ocean confuses predators. A clear baggie looks like a tasty jellyfish to a turtle.


---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Green

Another year without summer ahead? TWO volcanoes threaten catastrophic eruptions Watch

Image of Over 120,000 people have been evacuated on the island of Bali, away from the slopes of Mt. Agung, which is about to erupt.

Two volcanoes are about to erupt almost simultaneously, spewing massive quantities of ash and soot into the air. Scientists have warned ... continue reading


7.1 quake rattles Mexico City, scores dead Watch

Image of The powerful quake was felt as far away as Guadalajara.

A 7.1 quake has rocked Mexico City. Buildings swayed and people dove for cover, but there are now some reports of damage.At least 42 people ... continue reading


Floridians think they're prepared for Irma. They're wrong, and here's why Watch

Image of Hurricane Irma is so large, it filled the window of the International Space Station.

Hurricane Irma has destroyed two Caribbean islands, and claimed at least ten lives. Now, the storm is headed towards Florida where it will ... continue reading


Largest ever earthquake swarm detected under killer Yellowstone supervolcano as magma recharges Watch

Image of More than 2,300 quakes have rattled Yellowstone this summer.

Yellowstone is now the site of the largest earthquake swarm ever recorded with 2,357 quakes registered since June. The national park, ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants you to pray for care of creation and the poor Watch

Image of Let us be thankful and care for all creation.

Today is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and Pope Francis has asked all Christians to pray for the Earth and the poor. ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.