Saturday, November 11, 2006

NATURE 111206

A diverse collection of trash is displayed on Kahuku beach, Hawaii. Greenpeace are highlighting the threat that plastic poses to the world's oceans.

*all photo's from GREENPEACE.© Greenpeace / Alex Hofford

Today's nature post is a bit different. Instead of the pretty images normally seen here. , I have decided to post about the effects plastic has on our environment. This week I came across 2 articles that really disturbed me, one titled "Swirling plastic vortex menaces sea life" and the other "Only 50 years left for sea fish". Sea life can get caught in plastic bags and drown. They see small bits of plastic floating in the water like cigarette butts, lighters, bottle caps and mistake it for food. Since they cannot digest it, it sits in their stomach and they die of starvation. Birds can regurgitate these small plastic bits up to feed their young where the plastics may remain in the stomachs, blocking digestion and possibly causing starvation.

We all need to stop living as if everything is disposable. It is hard to do in the world we live in today to do without plastic..everything is made from it. When you go to the grocery store and buy veggies and fruit... think twice about putting your items in the produce bags. Do you really need that bag? Most likely it will end up in your trash can 15 minutes later when you get home, then in the ocean. Ask yourself if you really need the straw with your next soft drink? Every morning when I get my coffee and bagle, I say NO BAG. They look at me like I am crazy, but I am going 5 doors away to my desk. Keep a set of silverware, plate and glass at work and wash then to use again.
Ok...that's all I'm gonna say... But I could go on and on. Do some research - If we all make little changes, we can make a difference. BE RESPONSIBLE!

Here's how long it takes for some commonly used products to biodegrade, when they are scattered about as litter:
Cotton rags 1-5 months
Paper 2-5 months
Rope 3-14 months
Orange peels 6 months
Wool socks 1 to 5 years
Cigarette butts 1 to 12 years
Plastic coated paper milk cartons 5 years
Leather shoes 25 to 40 years
Nylon fabric 30 to 40 years
Tin cans 50 to 100 years
Aluminum cans 80 to 100 years
Plastic 6-pack holder rings 450 years
Glass bottles 1 million years
Plastic bottles Forever

Click HERE to read the full article on the debris in the sea.

Click HERE to read the full article on the decline of sea fish.

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