“We live in a time when nearly every problem has a solution. We must make protecting 72% of our planet a priority. The health of our blue heart – the global ocean – is vital to our own health and health of the planet.”
The average American generates about 100 pounds of plastic waste every year. Often, this plastic waste ends up in our waterways and makes it’s way to the ocean. Around the world, plastic pollution has become a growing plague, clogging our waterways, damaging marine ecosystems, and entering the marine food web. Much of the plastic trash we generate on land flows into our oceans through storm drains and watersheds where the polyethylenes, polystyrenes, polyvinyl chlorides, and all the other polys will last several hundred years after having served us sometimes for mere minutes. Sunlight and wave action cause these floating plastics to fragment, breaking into increasingly smaller particles, but never completely disappearing- at least on any documented time scale.
This plastic pollution is becoming a hazard for marine wildlife, and ultimately for us. As plastic particles circulate through oceans, they act as sponges for waterborne contaminants such as PCBs, DDT and other pesticides, PAHs and many hydrocarbons washed through our watersheds. These persistent organic pollutants, called “POPs”, are absorbed by plastic pollution in high concentrations. Plastic pollution is not a benign material in the ocean. Scientists are studying whether these POPs transfer to the marine organisms that mistakenly consume them. 44% of all seabird species, 22% of cetaceans, all sea turtle species, and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies. When marine animals consume plastic trash, this can lead to internal blockages, dehydration, starvation, and potentially death.
Also of deep concern for societies are the potential human health impacts of toxic chemicals entering the marine food chain through plastics. Science is beginning to ask the question: do chemicals such as PCBs and DDTs get into the tissues and blood of the animals that eat plastic? Do these chemicals work their way up the food chain, becoming increasingly concentrated and potentially entering our bodies when we eat seafood?
In partnership with the Ocean Voyaging Institute and Project Kaisei, BluSea Foundation is exploring a technological approach to eliminate plastics from our marine environment. Become a Member and sign up for our mailing list to stay updated on our progress and to see how you can help protect the health of our oceans and the health of your body.