Embedded in most of the sargassum are the easily visible pieces of trash: shampoo bottles, fishing gear, thick hard containers or thin soft bags amongst many other types of plastic. One of the scientists points out fish bite marks in a small plastic sheet we pull out. But what is really jarring is when you dive down and look into the blue and realize you are surrounded by tiny glittering pieces of broken up plastic.
…Greenpeace scientists say they found “extreme” concentrations of microplastic pollution in the Sargasso Sea, although they are still reviewing their findings. In one sample, they discovered almost 1,300 fragments of microplastic — more than the levels found last year in the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
…A study off the shore of Bermuda back in the early 1970s found 3,500 pieces of plastic per square kilometer. A more recent, as yet unpublished study by the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo found that nearly 42% of fish samples had ingested microplastics.
…Only around 9% of plastic produced has ever been recycled. [A lot] single-use plastics end up in landfills or are burned in huge toxic fires. Some finds its way into our rivers or the oceans.
“This goes into the food chain.” Ojeda explains. “The fish and shrimps eat the plastic, we are eating them or the fish that eat them, and this will end up in our bodies.”
…The weight of evidence that humans are contaminating one of our major food sources is overwhelming — not only introducing potential toxins into our own bodies, but also polluting whole ecosystems.
…Few of us witness what is out in the open oceans far from our homes, which is one of the many challenges for ocean protection and why few truly understand how dire the situation is. Out of sight, out of mind.
But in reality, it’s ending up right back in front of us — and inside us — even though we may not see it.
…”We need to look at the types of plastic we are using and eliminate the ones that can’t be recycled. We need to tidy up land-based sources (landfills and the like).”
…”If you as a consumer are going to the supermarket and you are unable to buy something which is not wrapped in plastic it’s not your fault. …It’s companies; companies need to take the step, need to lead the change — and governments need to push the companies.
For the oceans to recover to we need to stop them (plastics) now. If we are thinking we can stop them in 10 years, we can phase them out, no: we need to stop single-use plastic. Then the seas will have time to clean up.”