Thursday, March 24, 2011

Of plastics, the sea and flip flop art

Since last post, I have been to a lot of sessions about plastic, its forms, its names, its properties and its effects on the sea and creatures from microbes to sea birds to humans. The theme is that there is a lot of research still to be done to pinpoint the exact effects but there are also a few points that are getting repeated concerning plastic:
  • Sea birds, fish and other creatures are ingesting it. One presenter found a fish that was 2.5" long and had 83 pieces of microplastic in its stomach.
  • Plastics both give off (leech) and absorb chemicals that are known to be toxic.
  • The processes of bio accumulation and bio magnification are in play (magnifying the amount of plastic in animals as you go up the food chain).
  • Plastic is an important fact of our daily lives, however, we must do everything we can to keep it out of our oceans.
Tomorrow morning, I am looking forward to a session with representatives from both
Coca Cola and the American Chemistry Council talking about partnerships to address the fact that no one wants their product ending up in the seas.

To balance out the somewhat alarming information about plastics and photos of seabird and fish stomachs full of plastic pellets, I had a wander around the Sixth Gyre: Art, Oceans and Plastic Pollution exhibit. Best to let the art do the talking but there were some cool and clever uses for everything from toothbrushes to some incredible sculptures made from found flip flop foam.

Lastly, I signed off the last post with my excitement over going for a swim. And it was beautiful. I love swimming. I love swimming in a clear, blue, warm, windy ocean. I love swimming in a clear, blue, warm, windy, fish-filled, trash-free because-there-are-a-lot-of-motivated-people-psyched-and-ready-to-do-something-about-the-problem ocean.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference.
There will not be another for at least 4 years, so I need to sponge up everything I can.


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