Sunday, December 14, 2014

The World's Oceans Are Gasping. We Can't Breathe They Cry. We're Choking To Death...

The world's oceans are gasping.
We can't breathe they cry.
The world's oceans are choking to death on an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic pollution caused by mankind.
Mankind. That's you and me.
I can't breathe is a cry for help that seems to fall on deaf ears these days but mankind must respond to this global disaster.
Mankind. That's you and me again.
It's estimated that there are five trillion pieces of plastic littering the oceans, that's around seven hundred pieces for every man woman and child on the planet.
And we could all be culpable of littering
without actually knowing it.
Most modern clothing companies use plastic man-made fabrics like polyester and nylon.
Each time we wash a shirt, jacket, or other clothing made from these materials, plastic microfibers get washed into the sewage system and flow into the ocean. From there the microfibers are ingested by small fish, and make their way up the food chain.
And these fibers are everywhere.
They contaminate not only our waterways, but also our food and air.
When ecologist Mark Brown studied microplastics on shorelines across the globe, he discovered that a full 85% of the plastic came from man-made clothing fibers.
Experiments with washing machines reveal that 1,900 pieces of plastic microfibers come off of a single piece of clothing every time it’s washed.
Since nearly every major clothing company now uses these sorts of man-made fibers, it adds up to a huge amount of plastic microfibers entering our waterways each year. And just like other plastics, plastic microfibers contribute toxins to our environment.
Science has only recently discovered this problem, and what we need now is a solution
to this mess.
You and I are the problem. And the solution...


  1. Is there a doctor on the planet who can cure indifference?

  2. It looks like most of those fibers are going into my septic system and underground. Not sure how I feel about that, but at least they aren't going in the ocean.

    Good thing my lovely wife and I prefer natural fibers for our clothes.

    I guess the oil can't run out fast enough to save the planet.

    The oceans are so big we think we can't affect them, but we do in so many ways.

    You would not believe the amount of junk that gets caught in the mangroves. Unless someone has a shallow draft boat they never even get close enough to see it. From a distance it all looks pristine.

    Out of sight, out of mind.

  3. That's the scary thing - out of sight, out of mind. Those pictures are terrible, shocking, but the latest revelations of plastic micro-fibers choking the oceans are even more disturbing because we can't see them, because it's a growing technology and because the effects are all-invasive. We have to stop buying clothes made of man-made fibers and we have to pressure the clothing manufacturers to stop making them...... Big ask, but it is up to us consumers

  4. I guess it'll hafta be wool socks for sailing, not synthetics (cotton sucks when wet). Not sure what to use for sails. Can't afford nylon anyway.


  5. For all humankind's supposed sophistication and advances in technology we are the problem not the solution. Do we think we are invincible, the planet indestructible... Well it's turning out not to be so.
    The great invention of plastics... Humankind's gift to the world! It has turned out to be so destructive. Today I've been reading about an autopsy done on a turtle that revealed 500 pieces of plastic in its stomach. How sad that we can't constructively dispose of and recycle our plastics or be like the few pioneers who have built boats and houses out of plastic bottles. Like Suzy comments, are we all so indifferent... Or is it greed?
    I didn't know about the plastic fibers from clothes. Thanks Keith for bringing that to my attention. I will be reviewing my wardrobe and clothes I buy in the future... Even one person doing one thing can make a difference.

  6. "I can't breathe" - that's what Eric Garner said, and we know what kind of help *he* got: choked to death by cops.

    Eventually industrialism & its toxic products will stop because nothing can grow forever on a finite world like its economic system is supposed to. But for eons to come there'll be a helluva lot of rubbish for the biosphere to contend with - there already is.

    I like your reminder Licorice that plastic bottles can be used to build things like houses and floating islands. One of the best things that could happen would be for this plastic waste to become a resource so valuable that (sailing) ships voyage out into the great garbage gyres to collect this bonanza and bring it home to be reprocessed non-toxically into useful items: with, of course, strict controls on how it's subsequently disposed of and recycled. After a few centuries of that, perhaps a substantial proportion of toxic trash could be cleaned up.