Why are we trashing our oceans?

Today is World Environment Day - a day to appreciate all that is magical about the natural world that surrounds us but also a day for us all to take a long, hard look at the effects our lifestyles are having on the planet.

One of the major growing threats, to both humans and wildlife, is marine debris. The amount of waste and especially plastic waste in our oceans is unprecedented and our wildlife is suffering as a result. Whales, dolphins, birds and turtles are all being found with stomachs full of plastic - in 2013 a sperm whale that washed up on the south coast of Spain was found to have consumed over 17kg of plastic waste, including several plastic bags, a clothes hanger, an ice-cream tub and nine metres of rope. In addition to plastic, more and more animals are being found entangled in discarded or lost fishing gear. For most this will likely involve a subsequently slow, painful and lingering death.

Two opinion pieces that discuss marine debris in some depth and that are well worth a read on this auspicious day come from …

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Mr Chambers discusses the impact of the growing problem of marine debris on islands’ wildlife and the economic and environmental consequences.

And ...

Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) talks about the consequences of these vast quantities of trash bobbing around the ocean, both for humans and wildlife, and points to what she regards as the only way to solve the problem.

The problem is not going to go away without some serious engagement on behalf of society and Governments - on this World Environment Day 2014 why not try to do your bit?

Comments

Really people not that hard to either take your rubbish with you or out it in a bin .

Absolutely right! But, the most plastic within the above described sperm whale (the rope mentioned) was from spanish greenhouses where they produce for nearly all European supermarkets our daily dose of vegs, salads and fruits...

That's awful. It's nearly covering it blowhole! Some people just don't care. Uneducated and soulless. So sad. So unecessary. :((

The Costs for consumer wouldn't be More when they Use non-plastic bags. Oconomic bags are although a Option for companies to make advertisment.
Plastic bags should be prohibited by governments!

The UK has just announced a compulsory 5p charge on plastic shopping bags. If there is a global effort to reduce plastic use,we will be working in the right direction. Authorities need also to stop or prevent dumping rubbish near water..i.e rivers and industrial activity to be clear of such areas!