Plastic Polution

Topics: Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Plastic recycling, Bisphenol A Pages: 9 (1191 words) Published: December 11, 2012

Plastic Pollution

• History • Quantities • Marine life • Toxicity • Research • Solutions


Precautionary Principle (in this context)
• When/If an action or choice has the potential to be harmful to ourselves or the environment, that action should be avoided.

1955 Life article“Throwaway Living”


How is plastic made?

Nurdles Pre-production plastic pellets



Ballona Creek after a rainstorm

Why should a disposable product outlast its user by generation after generation after generation? In the U.S. we go through: -274 million plastic bags per day …or… 100 billion annually -45 million water bottles per day …or… 16.5 billion annually

Formation of the Gyres

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
A giant, eternal swirling spiral of floating trash - “2-4X the size of Texas” (the whole Pacific Ocean) - 90% plastic - 80% land-based (NOAA)

Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) - 2009 Captain Charlie Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation finds this area is like a plastic soup.




Hawaiian Islands

Kamilo Beach, Big Island Hawaii

Black-footed Albatross at Midway Atoll

Jay Holcomb-IBRCC



Gregg Segal

What do you see in the stomach of this albatross chick?

“Litter does not distinguish itself between biodegradable or non-biodegradable.” American Chemistry Council letter to the City of Monterey, 2/6/2008

What does this look like?

A jelly

Turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellies.

Many species suffer from ingestion and entanglement of plastics bags.

A mother sea otter tries to free her pup from a plastic bag. Elkhorn Slough - Moss Landing, CA Photo by Terry McCormac

Entanglement of plastic six-pack holders and rings…

Transport of invasive species and larvae

©Dino Ferri


Jason Hogle




Plastic also sinks to the deep sea Little is understood about the affects on deep sea ecology

There is no more “away” in today’s throwaway society.

Canada United States







Venezuela Venezuela

Antarctica Antarctica

Tanzania Tanzania

Philippines New Zealand Beach cleanup New Zealand

Slide: Dr.Richard Thompson

Citarum River - West Java, Indonesia

Approximately 200,000 synthetic chemicals introduced in the 50 last years… Plastics both absorb and leach chemicals

Plastics are entering the pelagic food web



We are at the top of the food web

Plastic in your sushi?

Dan Linehan

17 pieces of plastic in the stomach of a fish caught in the middle of the Pacific.

Plastics leach the chemicals they are made of…
These are chemicals used in 1) Bisphenol A - plastics hardenerplastic production, and are Found in urine of 95% of U.S. population.human health. cancer, harmful to Links to breast obesity, mood disorders.


- DEHP di 2 ethylhexanoldiester of phthalic acid, one e.g. - Mimics estrogen, i.e. “endocrine disruptor” Puerto Rico - Highest known level of premature breast development in world. - EU banned phthalates in cosmetics in 2004 - EU banned DEHP in children’s toys in 2004 - CA listed DEHP as a ‘reproductive toxin’ in 2003

The burden of proof of toxicity is onPhthalates - plastics softeners 2) the consumer, NOT the producer. Links to reduced sperm count, prostate cancer, obesity, ADHD. Many additives in plastic (CDC) manufacturing are “proprietary” & companies are not required to discloseThese chemicals, them.

known as hormone mimickers, disrupt the Endocrine System.

Labels advertising Phthalates restrictions “BPA FREE” tell you (e.g. DEHP, BBP, etc) what is not in them. E.U. - in children’s toys sincedon’t andyou They 1999 tell cosmetics since 2004. what is. Other “proprietary” U.S. - in children’s toys chemicals can take sinceplace. their 2009....

Links: Use Agreement (June, 2010) •This material may be viewed and displayed for educational use only. •Content may be copyrighted and/or owned by individuals and entities other than, and in addition to, Surfrider Foundation Monterey Chapter and NOAA.
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