In the news outlets today, there was shocking footage from a fisherman who caught a fish of the coast of Costa Rica. You wouldn’t believe what was inside the fish. Inside the poor fish, the fisherman extracted plastic lids, a comb and even a lighter. It highlights the dire need to do our part to minimize our plastic trash and be smarter electronics and DVD consumers.
See for yourself here in this video (WARNING: GRUESOME FOOTAGE).
The creature was identified as a mahi-mahi fish, or commonly knows as the dolphinfish. This type of fish is often found in the Caribbean, off the coast of Mexico and around Costa Rica. They are often sought after for sports and commercial purposes.
This is yet another example how plastic finds its way into our environment. In fact, according to a Washington Post article, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. In the Pacific, you can large swathes of plastic (the size of the state of Texas):
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
Humans waste an incredible amount of plastic and other garbage every day. Many of these synthetic pollutants eventually make their way to the ocean, carried by wind, water, and sometimes even people. Over the past few decades, the tons of pollution have gathered in a few of the calmer areas in the world’s oceans. The largest of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Based on observations of marine pollution on the coast of Alaska, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted in 1988 that plastics in various levels of degradation would eventually gather in the North Pacific Gyre.
In 1997, a racer in the Transpac sailing race came across a massive expanse of floating debris on his way home, and quickly reported it to oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who dubbed it the “Eastern Garbage Patch.” Even though it was discovered by a boater, the patch is not easily seen from the deck of a boat.
While there are some larger items in the patch, the majority of the litter is made up of tiny bits of broken-down plastics that float at or near the surface in a very high concentration. Estimates of the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch vary widely, but depending on the density of garbage considered to be part of the patch, it is between 270,000 square miles and 5,800,000 square miles.
The Great Pacific Garbage patch affects many species, including seabirds that eat bottlecaps and lighters and feed them to their young, sea turtles, and microorganisms that are a basic link in a food chain that we humans share.
As citizens of Earth, we need to do our part to prevent plastic from getting into the oceans.
Recycling plastics, buying used games, or finding streaming options for entertainment are the first steps we can take to reduce the plastic that is starting to pollute our oceans.