The Novice Speaks... (Plastic Please)

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 11:11 PM


Honestly, I was unaware that the topic of plastic versus paper was as popular as finding the cure for Cancer. I was amazed to read the various articles and watch the short documentaries on this topic. I would consider myself a novice who has currently embarked on a new campaign regarding the use of plastic including the pros and cons.  I will continue my research and as I read the opinions of others, I will hopefully form my own ideas and opinions regarding this intriguing topic.

Did you know?

  • Plastic bags are among the top two items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups. (Ocean Conservancy)
  • Plastic bags wrap around living corals, quickly "suffocating" and killing them. (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the Central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • Plastic pieces can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like PCB and DDT up to one-million times background levels. As a result, floating plastic is like a poison pill. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • Approximately 500 nautical miles off the California coast sits a growing "plastic island," a gargantuan patch of floating plastic trash held together by currents stretching across the northern Pacific almost as far as Japan. This "plastic island" is made up of about 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage, and measures about twice the size of Texas.
  • Each year, enough trash - most of it plastics - floats down the Los Angeles River to fill the Rose Bowl two stories deep. (Los Angeles Times, "Altered Oceans")
  • Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. Adult albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks. (L.A. Times)
  • On a single day in 2007, nearly 400,000 volunteers around the world picked up more than 6 million pounds of trash. A majority of the items were single-use disposable plastic items, such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. (Ocean Conservancy International)
  • Since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, "every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere." (Research Triangle Institute)
(Taken from www.reuseit.com)

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