The mysterious disappearance of a Malaysian air liner brought vessels and planes into thousands of hours searching in vain for a plane that simply vanished. For one month the mystery remains unsolved, leaving mourning relatives without closure.
Those who searched vast areas of the ocean for a missing plane were given momentary brief hope when a large piece was found on the ocean surface. Upon closer examination the searchers were dismayed to discover what they sighted was plastic pieces and large gyres. Marcus Eriksen, PhD concludes there are at least five gyres (www.5gyres.org) amid 80% of our suffering ocean now trashed by plastic. Captain Charles Moore and his coworkers of the Algalita Marine Research Center in Long Beach, CA scientifically concluded plastic particles outnumber oxygen-producing plankton by a ratio of 6 to 1. We recall plankton generate over half of Earth’s oxygen. Diminishing rain forests provide a quarter or more of our oxygen.
We do no comprehend cosmic issues easily. We can narrow our vision to the US and specifically Los Angeles, saturated with expressways, roads and car-related enterprises that cover ¾ of the city. Other US cities are afflicted by the car economy only to the extent of covering ½ of the urban space. Drivers on LA roads have the option of not using plastic containers, keeping plastic in their cars until returning home or sadly, throwing the non-biodegradable waste out of the window. Plastic goes to the beaches.
*In LA 10 metric tons of plastic fragments go into the Pacific daily
*In the last decade we have produced more plastic than in the entire last century
*The average US citizen throws away 185 lbs. of plastic each year.
*According to Brit, the plastic water bottle company, we throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles each year
*90% of trash in the ocean is plastic, amounting to 46,000 pieces per square mile
*Plastic is absorbed by marine creatures and by humans resulting in a change of the endocrine systems of living beings. 93% of US citizens, aged six or older tested positive for BPA, a plastic chemical.
Dustin Hoffman played the leading role in the 1960’s movie “The Graduate” when an uncle told him: “I have one word for you now – PLASTIC.” Obviously the advice was for the graduate’s future prosperity.
In 2014, advice might be given to graduates to clean up plastic garbage we have heaped upon our Earth. Not for passing wealth, but survival.