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Are we literally turning into plastic?

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posted on May, 13 2007 @ 06:32 AM

Very very thought provoking article.

After enlisting scientists such as Steven B. Weisberg, Ph.D. (executive director of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and an expert in marine environmental monitoring), to develop methods for analyzing the gyre’s contents, Moore has sailed Alguita back to the Garbage Patch several times. On each trip, the volume of plastic has grown alarmingly. The area in which it accumulates is now twice the size of Texas.
photo of deformed sea turtle
At the same time, all over the globe, there are signs that plastic pollution is doing more than blighting the scenery; it is also making its way into the food chain. Some of the most obvious victims are the dead seabirds that have been washing ashore in startling numbers, their bodies packed with plastic: things like bottle caps, cigarette lighters, tampon applicators, and colored scraps that, to a foraging bird, resemble baitfish. (One animal dissected by Dutch researchers contained 1,603 pieces of plastic.) And the birds aren’t alone. All sea creatures are threatened by floating plastic, from whales down to zooplankton. There’s a basic moral horror in seeing the pictures: a sea turtle with a plastic band strangling its shell into an hourglass shape; a humpback towing plastic nets that cut into its flesh and make it impossible for the animal to hunt. More than a million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die in the North Pacific each year, either from mistakenly eating this junk or from being ensnared in it and drowning.

Bad enough. But Moore soon learned that the big, tentacled balls of trash were only the most visible signs of the problem; others were far less obvious, and far more evil. Dragging a fine-meshed net known as a manta trawl, he discovered minuscule pieces of plastic, some barely visible to the eye, swirling like fish food throughout the water. He and his researchers parsed, measured, and sorted their samples and arrived at the following conclusion: By weight, this swath of sea contains six times as much plastic as it does plankton.

Please visit the link above for the entire text. It's enough to make you swear off plastic for life..

mod edit to use "ex" tags instead of "quote" tags
Quote Reference.

[edit on 13-5-2007 by sanctum]

posted on May, 13 2007 @ 06:42 AM
Interesting subject.

Up until recently i worked for a firm who basically washed mud. When drilling for oil you obviously bring a lot of mud up with you, different types of mud for different levels your drilling at. We used to process that mud, basically using a system of nitrogen and heat to seperate any oil from the mud so the mud could then be sent to land-fill sites without polluting the environment.

When we took delivery of mud from near the surface of the sea bed you'd be amazed at the amount of rubbish sitting amongst the mud. It was staggering (and disheartening) to see.

posted on May, 13 2007 @ 09:58 PM
Thank you Inannamute, for brining this, maybe the most important topic at all.

I read the link... ... and I cried. Not that I didn't know about phatalates, the everlasting durability of plastics and what it does to the enviroment.

It's just so easy to forget about with all the other maladities going on in the world.

Let me tell you about an experience I had in 1996 flying cross Pacific to Australia.

In the early morning as the sun came up the plane hoovered down approaching the continent getting ready for landing, the coastlline was a dim brim in the horizon.

I guess we were 30-40 miles from land and the ocean was glittering in the morning sun. Suddenly I spotted an area of flecks down there, I couldn't make out what it was. At first I thought it was an armada of small boats, but some of the flecks were hard to shape into a boat. Finally I spotted a small boat and could see they wasn't boats. Maybe whales playing in the morning light, I then thought. But there wasn't any visible movement in the flecks. At last the horrible truth dawn on me was garbage.

When I came to Sydney I told my friend what I had seen. He took me to the newly build garbage plant, where all the rubbish from the greater metropolian area was collected ...and pumped into the ocean.

He saw it as a great progress that a pipeline now lead it 10-20 miles off shore bfore it was realeased. In that way their beautiful beaches wouldn't be polluted like they'd been with the earlier practise, to just haul it a few miles out and dumb it. Now it was relaesed in the ocean current and would end up in a vortex like described in the link. Out of sight, out of mind.

I was appaled. I do hope they've changed the practise today.

Yes, it is horrible what we do to our oceans. I've always known it to be bad, but 40 percent littered... I didn't know it was THAT bad.

Let me just add another horrendous thing we do to marine life. Every day floating nets are set in the big ocean, each one scores of miles long, and in a number that put together would reach halfway around the globe. Some of them are lost and will float around literally forever trapping sea mammals on its path getting entangled. Kills millions of turtles. seals, small whales constantly.

Yes its sad, a mad world.

For the plastics, be sure to blame Dupont, who in the 1930s --together with Hearst's yellow press-- lobbied the US congress to outlaw and ban the use of hemp, since the dawn of man used in a vast variety of household products from clothes to rope and fabrics suitable for bags, containers, not to mention its medical use. Actually it can be turned into an organic degradable plastic by today's technology.

But it is deemed "an illegal substance" and you bet big oil want it to stay that way.

To know more than the psychedelic properties of hemp, please check this link.

And... FLAG THIS THREAD! It's the most important topic up right now.

posted on May, 13 2007 @ 11:18 PM
Thanks guys, yeah, I read it and was pretty heartbroken too.. The image of that poor turtle has gone through my mind all day.. a LIFETIME of torture for that animal, for what?

As the article says - why do we need ketchup bottles and such that last FOREVER?..

There is simply no way we should be using so much non-recyclable or biodegradable stuff - it's simply ignorant.. we're going to drown in our own plastic..

In some ways, I'm placing bets in my head - working out the odds on WHICH self-destructive practice is going to kill off the human race first..

Every day I add a new one to the tally..

posted on May, 15 2007 @ 12:18 AM
Here's a story from Chad, Africa fighting the expanding of the Sahara desert ...and the greatest obstacle in that fight is... plastic bags.

Plastic bags have a life span of 50 to 100 years, he explains; this means the bags can clog the soil for up to a century, taking a severe toll on plant life.

"Non-degradable plastic bags contribute to the desertification of our country without people being aware of it. These plastic bags stifle the soil and make it unfavourable for all plant growth," Kourayo says.

Of a dump site that was opened by the mayor next to a reforested area in Walia, at the southern exit of N'Djamena, he notes: "These trees will die, for certain.

They will die because the waste thrown into the dump is mostly made up of these non-degradable plastic bags."

It is kind of a paradox, that the more poor the country, the worse the polution from plastic bags.

I know Thailand, and for sure it applies there. Anything, ANYTHING, no matter how little the value, comes in plastic bags -- the onhy thing that is free in the country.

Even if it's 10 cents worth of coke with ice, it comes in a plastic bag, and if you go market, you easily come home with 20 or 30 bags ...for one day of food stuff.

Multiply it by 65 millions, or say 20 for the number of households, no, put it at 10 millions, as not all can afford to go market every day, it will add up to 250 million plastic bags a day ... ...and they ALL end up in the enviroment or be incinerated in open fires.

They are very popular for lighting up charcoal fires on cooking stoves, for instance. Yes, they don't know better, and only very, very few adress the problem.

Actually it is non-existent as they dont see it ...despite these huge amounts of plastic ends up everywhere around habitated areas. A fertile earth and a humid tropical clima takes care it is soon overgrown and out of sight.

Eventually even the most lush vegetation will be choked by these huge amounts.

posted on May, 15 2007 @ 02:50 PM
And yet, nobody is really talking about this..

Funny thing.. My local supermarket sells recycled plastic shopping bags for $1.. They're huge, strong, have colorful designs on them.. I bought one and the cashier put the BAG inside a plastic bag..

I had to stop her and say "Why would I buy a recycled shopping bag so that you could put it in another plastic bag? I want my groceries in the bag..

So much plastic, and the vast majority will be around for years.. probably longer than any of us..

Just imagine, all the plastic bags you've handled in your life.. and when you're dead and buried (under a mound of plastic) they're still there..

I think stores should stop providing bags.. if you start at least with the grocery stores - start getting people to bring their own bags with them to the store..

Just imagine if overnight, every grocery store in america stopped providing plastic bags for their customers..

If you could get in front of every chain store operator, and talk to them about this, get them to agree, I'm sure they would do it.. They'd save money - even MAKE money by selling recycled bags like the one I mentioned above.. and they'd stop polluting the planet by a huge amount..

Of course, some customers would be very unhappy.. but just think of the impact it would have on consciousness, on the planet itself.. Don't want to pay for extra grocery bags? Better cut back on your excess consumption, then..

posted on May, 15 2007 @ 03:04 PM
We have posioned the planet and raped it beyond belief.
Our trolling seabeds and killing sharks has killed the ocean along with posions and garbage.
We will reap what we sow...unfortuneatly so does everything else.

posted on May, 15 2007 @ 03:46 PM

In the face of public outrage over pictures of dolphins choking on “a family’s trusted companion,” the American Plastics Council takes a defensive stance, sounding not unlike the NRA: Plastics don’t pollute, people do.

It has a point. Each of us tosses about 185 pounds of plastic per year. We could certainly reduce that.

Everyone should make every effort to ensure ALL of their unwanted and discarded items that contain plastic are recycled vs. landfilled. All countries should immediately outlaw ocean disposal of all non-biodegradable substances or even biodegradable substances that will take more than a minimal amount of time (30 days) to breakdown.

Then everyone should take a moment to think about what their life would be like without plastic.

No motor cars......not a single luxury.

posted on May, 16 2007 @ 07:36 AM
this is probably a really stupid idea, but if plastic waste was crushed into solid cubes, could it be buried under new buildings, or roads, or car parks etc? i realise the sheer volume of waste would mean that not all of it would be disposable in this way, but would it, theoretically, be a possibility?

posted on May, 16 2007 @ 08:34 AM
Batty, I really don't think that finding new ways to dispose of plastic waste is the answer.

I think this planet will, in due course, kill off humans. Something will happen, some event, and our pathetic little race - a mere quarter-second of existence if the history of this planet was compressed into 24 hours - and we will be damaged beyond repair.

It was only last century that we managed to find a way to totally destroy this planet in under 10 minutes, so no doubt we are slightly smarter than anything before, but after reading that article I am very happy that I will live for no more than 100 years. We are destroying this planet are there is no turning back. Everyone puts THEIR OWN INTERESTS before the interests of every other human, animal or plant that will live. We make pissy little moves like phasing out incandescent bulbs and giving the gullible public special 'recycling' bins to make them feel better (and I do admit feel like I am helping the environment every time I put something into it
), but we are going absolutely nowhere.

“If you could fast-forward 10,000 years and do an archaeological dig…you’d find a little line of plastic,” he told The Seattle Times last April. “What happened to those people? Well, they ate their own plastic and disrupted their genetic structure and weren’t able to reproduce. They didn’t last very long because they killed themselves."

posted on May, 16 2007 @ 06:11 PM
totally agree. i can't begin to explain (certainly wouldn't as well as you!) how devastated i am that nobody in positions of power have made any real efforts in the past to turn our damage around, and try to coexist with this planet.
anyone who cares for the environment is deemed a boring hippy loser by most people, which just goes to prove the amount of consumer conditioning that's going on around us. it's never 'cool' to care. and the population strives to be cooler than the next guy.
like you say, i doubt too that there's a way to save ourselves now, it's gone too far. and only last week i was telling my friend the same - "i'm glad i'll be dead in a few decades."

posted on May, 16 2007 @ 07:05 PM
The only way to save ourselves, sadly, is to make it profitable to do so..

By the time everyone realizes and wakes up, it will be too late.

I was reading an awesome book today, "The Dispossessed" by Ursula Le Guin.. One of the all time great science fiction books.. The protagonist meets a "Terran" ambassador not far from the end of the book, who tells him about what her planet is like..

My world, my Earth, is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite, nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. There are no forests left on my earth. The air is grey, the sky is grey, it is always hot. It is habitable, it is still habitable - but not as this world is. This is a living world, a harmony. Mine is a discord. You Odonians chose a desert; we Terrans made a desert... We survive there, as you do. People are tough! There are nearly a half billion of us now. Once there were nine billion. You can see the old cities still everywhere. The bones and bricks go to dust, but the little pieces of plastic never do -they never adapt either. We failed as a species, as a social species.

This is increasingly the future I believe we face - we are not killing our planet one way at a time, no, we are subjecting a delicate ecological balance to a multitude of sins - chemical, biological, aggression on a massive scale against our own environment. The earth will outlast us, and life on this planet will continue, once balance has been restored by removing the thing that keeps it out of balance; humanity.

posted on Jun, 7 2007 @ 05:06 AM
I knew the plastic issue was bad. But this article has just made me sad The picture of the turtule and the bird carcas which was simply filled with plastic is shocking.

I avoid plastic's as much as I possibly can (which here ain't easy if you're on a budget).

Shouldn't have read this one
Let's just say my disgust for my own species has not become less after this article.

I know I'm overly sensitive, depression prone and thus kind of feel the weight of the world and all on my shoulders and this is just ....... If god or earth destroy mankind tomorrow I would understand tbh.

God's greatest failure imho time to start smithing.

ps. might reply when i'm emotionally calmed down and more 'reasonable' again

Good thing I'm not god, I like those furry, scaley, scrubby, slimey, and even chitene exoskeleton bearing creatures a lot more then that glorified ape which despite all it's intelligence seems to be the most dumb and weird creature on this planet ^^. We're the most brainiest creature this planet has produced but yet it seems we aren't able to do what even the simplest creatures have done.. find an equilibrium with the rest of the planet.

forgive my rantm emotionally charged atm

[edit on 7/6/2007 by David2012]

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