Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Plastic, the new plankton

Floating plastic is the new plankton, in some places more abundant than the real thing.

Studying the mess in the Pacific, Charles Moore found more plasto-plankton than similar sized zoo-plankton, the yummy wee animals preferred by 5 out of 6 marine animals surveyed.

Not only worthless as food, this faux-plankton can be a "poison pill" because it absorbs toxic chemicals such as PCBs and other oily pollutants. Nobody knows the full impacts of plastic in our oceans, but examples of dead animals are common.

Worldwide, where ocean currents converge, floating garbage makes a mess of remote beaches and now even remote stretches of ocean. Puts a bit of a new spin on the question: "plastic or paper?"

5 comments:

Anna said...

nice blog, great name. cool to see some info on plastics....i spent some time w/ charles moore collecting stomach samples from laysan albatross, all FULL of plastic. one of many unpleasant appearances by the stuff.
i was so horrified that i started a campaign called Bring Your Own to try and get at the disposables issue. damn stuff is everywhere.....keep up the fishy blog!

Anna said...

oops, thats Bring Your Own.....

seahorse said...

Mark -- I couldn't pass up the opportunity to plug Senator Inouye's marine debris bill, now up for consideration in Congress. Marine debris is one of the most ubiquitous and yet solvable pollution problems plaguing the world’s oceans and waterways. Successful management of the marine debris issue requires a comprehensive understanding of the nature of this pollution. Strategies for identifying the types, sources, amounts, and impacts of marine debris form the foundation of a pollution prevention initiative. Relying on this foundation, S. 2488 would make it possible for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Coast Guard, in coordination with other Federal and non-federal entities, to significantly expand domestic efforts to reduce and prevent marine debris.

Folks who care about this issue should call Senator Inouye's D.C. office to thank him for his efforts and urge him to press for enactment of a final bill during this session.

Thanks for the good work on the fish front!

Seahorse said...

PS - The number for Senator Inouye's office is 202-224-3934.

Anonymous said...

maybe we'll see the rise of plastic fish to eat this stuff?