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Author Topic: Drowning in plastic  (Read 405 times)

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Offline Devil

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Drowning in plastic
« on: October 02, 2018, 08:49:49 AM »
This is the title of a BBC documentary which was broadcast last night. It is a real eye-opener and rather frightening in that most of us – myself included – have no idea of the damage we are causing in the oceans with various types of plastic in equally various forms. It is not just six cents on a plastic bag that is going to resolve the problem of a turtle eating it or a whale drowning in fishermen's nets. In my opinion, a program that is well worth watching on catch up.

Quote
Review
by David Butcher
Liz Bonnin explores the huge problem of plastic waste choking the world’s rivers and oceans in a one-off special that is almost too distressing to watch. In the opening scenes, she joins rescue teams in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand as they help seabirds whose parents have unwittingly fed them plastic: the record is 260 pieces (often bits of bottle tops) in the stomach of a single shearwater chick. Bonnin also witnesses a mile-long raft of plastic waste on an Indonesian river and sees whales in New England caught in fishing gear.

There are more positive stories, too – including fascinating attempts to clean up our oceans using a sort of giant Pac-Man. But then she hits us with another dizzying statistic, such as the fact that every minute around the world we buy a million plastic bottles and two million plastic bags.

In the end, the picture is overwhelming, almost despair-inducing, but as Bonnin says at one point, almost weeping, “This is real. This is what’s going on.”
Summary
Trillions of pieces of plastic are choking the very lifeblood of the Earth and every marine animal, from the smallest plankton to the largest mammals, is being affected. In this 90-minute special, wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin visits scientists working at the cutting-edge of plastics research and joins work with some of the world's leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in the oceans and what it means for the future of all life on the planet, including humans.
Devil

Offline broadstairs

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Re: Drowning in plastic
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2018, 05:32:08 PM »
I watched last night. Truly shocking what humans are doing to the planet. As Devil said paying 5p or 6cents for a bag will do nothing at all, everyone on the planet needs to stop using plastic.

Stuart

Offline Harry

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Re: Drowning in plastic
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 12:12:21 AM »
Well I can remember the days when all we had was paper bags which we didn't have to pay for and only glass bottles and jars.  We can't go back to those days?  I didn't get to see the documentary but, did they happen to mention this too?

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Twice the Size of Texas
https://www.ecowatch.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch-texas-2551330463.html

Offline Devil

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Re: Drowning in plastic
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 08:59:09 AM »
everyone on the planet needs to stop using plastic.

Stuart

I agree, up to a point. But are the alternatives any better for the environment? Unfortunately, in my old age, I have to wear nappies (diapers). The old-fashioned alternative would have been bulky terry towelling (cotton) with a smooth cotton lining, resulting in requiring the use of the washing machine every day with quite an energy, water and soap consumption with the effluent ending up, I suppose, in the sea. Going back even further, without a washing machine imagine the time and hot water from a gas boiler (if not coal) for fully hand washing and hard work scrubbing.

Believe me, my memory goes back to my mother using a copper boiler to do the weekly washing, with the municipal coal gas burning for at least four hours. If she had had to wash adult nappies as well, it would probably have taken twice as long. She didn't, because the members of the family did not live long enough to have the problems requiring them.

Quite frankly, I shall continue to use the modern nappies with the full knowledge that I am causing environmental problems. However, the real problem is that man does not know how to destroy the mountains of used nappies and other plastics in an environmental manner. My feeling is that this waste, along with other household waste, should be burnt in waste-to-energy power stations, helpfully reducing the number of fossil-burning power stations. Countries like Sweden and Switzerland, amongst others, burn a very large proportion of combustible household and industrial waste (even importing some from other countries). There is no reason why this could not be done on a much larger scale, combined with rigid waste plastic collection as a fuel. There are over 1000 waste-to-energy plants in the world operating today, capable of transforming plastics that cannot be recycled into energy, provided they can be collected. This is the crux of the matter, waste plastic must be collected and not thrown away, combined with electricity generating plants that can burn them without producing pollution, although the carbon in the plastic will transform into CO2.

I would like to think that my nappies were generating electricity, rather than rotting away in a landfill, eventually producing microparticles that will end up in the sea and entering the biological food chain.
Devil

Offline broadstairs

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Re: Drowning in plastic
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 06:49:00 AM »
I agree there are some uses of plastic which are of benefit.  However the vast amounts used in food packaging, single use bottles, microbeads in cosmetics and probably many others simply cannot be justified and need to be significantly reduced or eliminated.

Stuart

Offline teal

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Re: Drowning in plastic
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 09:33:58 AM »
  One word, SCARY.

  teal.