FROM PLASTIC GARBAGE TO DINNER PLATE
Microplastics in sea threat to human health, United Nations warns
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39217985 (copy to browser to open)
BBC Video link above captures the moment plastic enters the food chain
Pacific Garbage Patch Click to enlarge
Microplastics are created when larger plastic debris breaks down by sunlight and wave action into rice-sized bits that measure five millimeters or less. They have turned the world’s oceans into what scientists call a “plastic soup,” but their impact on the marine ecosystem in our oceans is not fully understood. A 2015 study had attempted
to measure how much microplastic is in the world’s oceans confirmed the “soup” description, when it estimated the number of particles in 2014 range from 15 to 51 trillion pieces, weighing between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons.
That’s how much plastic we’re tossing into the oceans every year! University of Georgia environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck says it’s enough to line up five grocery bags of trash on every foot of coastline in the world.
Fiona Harvey, Environmental Correspondent of the Guardian Newspaper wrote;
Fish may be actively seeking out plastic debris in the oceans as the tiny pieces appear to smell similar to their natural prey, new research suggests. The fish confuse plastic for an edible substance because microplastics in the oceans pick up a covering of biological material, such as algae, that mimics the smell of food, according to the study published on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists presented schools of wild-caught anchovies with plastic debris taken from the oceans, and with clean pieces of plastic that had never been in the ocean. The anchovies responded to the odours of the ocean debris in the same way as they do to the odours of the food they seek.
Plastic ingested by fish
The scientists said this was the first behavioural evidence that the chemical signature of plastic debris was attractive to a marine organism, and reinforces other work suggesting the odour could be significant. The finding demonstrates an additional danger of plastic in the oceans, as it suggests that fish are not just ingesting the tiny pieces by accident, but actively seeking them out.
Daniel Stone of Newsweek wrote;
Since the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s biggest communal garbage dump, was discovered swirling about 1,000 miles north of Hawaii in 1997, scientists and environmentalists have dared to dream if a cleanup might be possible. Consisting of an estimated 3.5 million tons of trash and scattered over an area roughly the size of the continental United States, the garbage comes from countries all over the world, most of it flushed through waterways leading to the ocean. Once there, the Pacific gyre (a rotating system of ocean currents) traps the trash in its final resting place, where it has gathered with debris from ships and fishermen, and wreaked havoc on fish and seabirds.
Beston Plastic to Oil
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Oil to Plastic Machine
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The Billions of Dollars we are paying experts to implicate man, despite the growing number who consider it to be natural, in global warming, should be diverted towards addressing the real problem and that is to limit the dumping of plastic waste into our oceans or burying it in landfill. Governments should get involved and encourage Plastic to Oil machinery (above left) to be installed in all major waste dumps and the oil could then be sold back to industry. Better value for the community than paying scientists to write up doomsday scenarios.