Dumped Plastic Kills So Much Marine Life.
Dumping plastic anywhere is bad news - it is bad enough on land, but at sea the almost unseen effects are now known to be severe.
Dumping plastic into landfill sites is not good news - not even if the plastic has been blended with biodegradables to encourage it to break down into smaller pieces. Like all oil based products it comes at a price - expensive processing and large quantities of energy consumed - and instead of being reserved for long life products, most of it now ends up being used to make 'disposable' items.
If we can avoid using plastic carrier bags, food bags and cling film and revert to cotten/jute bags for shopping, cornstarch bags for food wrappings and so on, then we will avoid huge amonts of waste and corresponding savings in emissions. Progress is being made with recycling of plastics and that will need to become 100% as the limited amount of landfill space in some countries (such as the UK) will be completely filled within a few years at present rates of dumping.
Plastic has been with us for over 50 years now - and even if we stopped making it now, it will be with us for many decades to come. This is because it doesnt degrade in the same way that many other materials do - it will gradually break down into tiny particles, but in so doing it leaches out all the other chemicals mixed in with it. Sadly the problems dont just end with landfills - plastic particles and their fellow components are entering the water table and thereby being taken into crops and livestock.
In the Oceans
In the oceans of the world micro particles of plastic now outweigh plankton by as much as 30 times - ingestion of these particles is now thought to contribute to the deaths of at least 100,000 marine animals every year. Satellite imaging has revealed areas in the oceans where vast quantities of plastic bottles and other waste have been collecting together as a result of currents collecting them from items discarded from ships, litter left on beaches, etc.
The 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' is an area of floating waste (flotsum) said to be twice the size of Texas - over 3 million tons of plastic! Currently the next biggest known marine garbage patch is the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, estimated to be some hundreds of kilometres across in size.
As well as collecting in floating 'rafts' of waste, vast amounts are also carried onto the shorelines of unfortunate countries such as Hawai...
Many sea birds and turtles, etc, have also died from ingesting plastic bags - the damage is growing at an alarming rate.
Cleaning up plastic debris also uses up energy and thereby adds further to the emissions polluting our skies. Plainly the past habits of using disposable plastic items must stop before our oceans are turned into an inhospitable environment for fish and mammals alike!
A Shining Example of Change For the Better
Changing our daily habits can demonstrably reduce our reliance upon disposable plastics - as amply proven by the town of Modbury, South Devon. Please view their site for full details and guidance on how to implement similar schemes in your own area. http://www.plasticbagfree.com