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I know what you're talking about, in fact I was looking for those on the table in the OP photo and expected to see some, but I couldn't find any. That surprised me a little, did it surprise you?
Originally posted by hqokc
The Pacific is just a big toilet bowl of plastic bits. The little clear balls that are the pre-processed plastic look like fish eggs and lots of sea critters eat them, and sea birds too. This is not unusual.
Marine debris consists of any piece of rubbish thrown, blown or dumped into the ocean. Items of rubbish dropped on streets and parks many kilometres from the shore will end up the ocean by moving down stormwater drains into creeks, streams and rivers.
Globally 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles, and 1 million sea birds die every year from ingesting or becoming entangled in marine debris.
Plastics are the worst offenders. Due to the long periods of time required to break down, (plastics never decompose, they just break down into smaller pieces that are more easily mistaken for food) plastics become serial killers, killing many animals over many hundreds of years.
Plastic bags kill many sea turtles who mistake their pale colours and gently undulating form for the jellyfish that they feed on. Once ingested plastics can choke the animal or, if it blocks the stomach, cause it to starve to death.
A look at the numbers reveals the extent of the problem. Australians use almost 4 billion plastic shopping bags – and drop 50 million of them as litter – every year. Additionally 1000s more are blown from landfill sites into waterways and the ocean.
Sea Turtle Foundation is calling for a ban on free plastic bags, read more here (follow link above).
Hatchlings have been found with small pieces of polystyrene in their stomachs, having mistaken them for food. Sea turtles also become entangled in larger discarded items such as tyres and plastic containers.
Originally posted by jam321
Let's not forget that event like hurricanes, flooding, and tsunamis etc. also contribute to polluting our waters.
For the second time in a month, flood waters and trash from the city's landfill in Nanakuli were discharged into the ocean along Oahu's Leeward Coast Wednesday night.
Scientists say a massive trash plume generated by Japan's tsunami is floating across the northern Pacific Ocean and heading east for Hawaii.
Ocean of Rubbish
Originally posted by Arbitrageur
That will happen eventually, say when oil gets to $2000 a barrel, that stuff floating on the ocean will be quite valuable. with oil at only $100 a barrel, it's too cheap to incentivize anyone to recover that mess for economic reasons.
This is really sad, those plastic bag bits can just line the digestive tract and then no food can be absorbed, and the turtle will starve even with a full stomach.
Maybe through the process of "unnatural selection" (because the pollution is manmade) some turtles will eat less plastic, and survive to breed, whereas turtles that eat plastic indiscriminately will die off and breed less. Eventually, we' could have a new breed of "superturtles" who can recognize plastic and have the genes that makes them less likely to eat it. If that doesn't happen, a lot more turtles will die because there will surely be a plentiful supply of plastic in the ocean if they are willing to indiscriminately eat it. I also wonder, can't they do what some other animals do? Namely, get the food in their mouth, taste it, and decide whether to swallow it or spit it out? That plastic can't taste much like food, can it? Or maybe sea turtles don't have a sense of taste?
www.ivis.org... page 2 of pdf, 146 of paper:
Taste buds are present but are poorly characterized
I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does it mean we don't know much about them? Or that they are present but don't work too well?
They better evolve a better sense of taste fast or some other means of distinguishing inedible plastic, or they may not survive. I would suggest man stop polluting, but we all know that isn't going to happen. We can reduce pollution, but I suspect a lot of pollution in the Pacific is coming from third world countries. I have seen some plastic pollution flowing into the ocean on the west coast of the US, but I don't think it's nearly enough to account for those big garbage pools in the pacific.