15th March 2018

The Caribbean - Paradise or Putrid Plastics?

Imagine you’re on holiday in the beautiful Caribbean, the glorious sunshine shining royally in the heavens, metal drums beating softly in the background. You wade nonchalantly into the brilliant blue ocean. Then a plastic bottle floats into your face. The plastic sea is affecting the wildlife and people of the Caribbean in an awful way. Many sea creatures are suffering negative effects as they are mistaking plastics for food. This “Plastic Sea” is one of the most, if not the most, damning pieces evidence against marine pollution.

Also known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, this monstrosity of human neglect was first described in a 1988 paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the USA. It has been left too long and most certainly did not happen overnight. The “Patch” is characterised by its high pelagic concentrations of plastic, chemical sludge and other debris. These waste products have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre and extend over a vast, and indeterminate, area, depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the area.

No one person can be blamed for this poisonous plastic invasion on earth’s waters. We are all to blame and only together can we bring this to an eco-friendly resolution. Don’t overuse plastics. They may be a cheap, easy, mass solution to many first-world problems, but they have a heavily negative long-term effects.

Studies show that there will be more waste plastic than fish in the sea, by 2050. A truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute because plastics, due to apparent laziness, aren’t being recycled or reused. If this continues, our oceans shall become entirely polluted. Things need to change, and fast.

A science teacher from Uffculme School (Mr Foster) was interviewed, he feels passionately on the subject of reducing plastics due to the viral image showing a dying, desperate seahorse wrapped tightly in constricting plastics, unable to move. He suggested, “This issue should be hit home to primary and secondary schools who can then educate their parents on the issue.” Furthermore, to get the public involved in helping with this crisis, Mr Foster suggested “buying, to a certain extent, boycott plastics. This is seeing something in plastic, which is of a similar quality, in a different container then swap containers – it a quick fix. Everyone needs to play a part but will everyone listen?

In just over 30 year, imagine going on holiday to the Caribbean. Plastics everywhere, dead marine life floating limply to the surface. Is this what you really want?

Simply by reducing your use of plastics, you could make a world of difference.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.