In an earlier post, I shared my meeting with the NSW Central Coast Environmentalist, Tim Silverwood at the Sydney screening of the movie ‘Bag It’.
Tim has just returned from his voyage of the North Pacific Gyre aka The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Three weeks Tim sailed 5000km from Honolulu to Vancouver and what he discovered was the description of the garbage patch being a ‘floating island’ of trash, is far from the truth.
“In fact it is much worse than that” says Tim. “If it was a floating island of trash, it would be possible for us to go and clean it up but unfortunately it is more like plastic soup. Larger plastic items like bottles, bags, buckets and crates don’t retain their structure for long. As the sun rays beat down and the waves toss them around, they break into millions and billions of fragments that then remain in the ocean. They don’t biodegrade though, that’s the scary part”.
According to Keep Australia Beautiful National spokesperson, Lara Shannon, marine litter poses a vast and growing threat to the marine and coastal environment with at least 77 species of marine wildlife found in Australian waters being affected. “Marine animals like sea turtles, sea birds, dolphins and sea lions are particularly vulnerable” says Lara.
For those who may not be concerned about other species or even other people, you may be asking how does this affect me? Well recent evidence suggests that 9% of small fish called mctophyds are consuming plastic particles that they confuse as food. These species represent a base for the food chain, meaning toxins in plastic and that attached to plastic are entering the food chain. Our food! What we eat. What you eat!
Want to find out more?
1) Check out www.take3.org.au (Tim’s is founder)
2) Check out www.TimSilverwood.com
4) Check out Tim’s latest video