The Plastic Oceans Foundation has published a series of videos explaining how plastic waste gets into the oceans, breaks down into microplastics and enters the food chains.
In the first film, which can be viewed below, we are told that the notion of an actual island of garbage floating in the ocean is a myth. Instead, what exists is more of a plastic smog.
Plastic waste eventually makes it way from rivers and coastlines to the five churning gyres in our oceans. Over time, larger pieces of plastic are broken down by the sun's ultra-violet light, waves, and salt.
This results in tiny pieces being created, which are referred to as microplastics.
Waterborne chemicals from industry and agriculture stick to microplastics, making them tiny toxic pills - which are easily consumed by marine life, where the toxins are absorbed into tissue ... and eventually make their way into the human food chain.
Plastic Waste in the Food Chains
Plastic pollution is more than just an issue for marine life. As plastic debris breaks down into smaller particles, it's ingested by fish and other animals. When they do so, they are also consuming the chemical toxins attached to the plastic.
The Impact on Human Health
Many plastics release chemicals that have estrogenic activity (EA). EA happens when a chemical like BPA or phthalates enters the body and mimics the hormone estrogen. 92.6% of Americans over 6 years old have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, per the Centers for Disease Control.
Plastic Oceans UK Foundation Screens ‘A Plastic Ocean’ Documentary in Malta
The producer of award-winning film, ‘A Plastic Ocean’, Jo Ruxton, and the UK based team at environmental group, Plastic Oceans, have launched a new initiative in response to the growing crisis of waste plastics and marine pollution.
IN DEPTH: Smarter Plastics for a Circular Economy
Trying to achieve a circular economy with existing plastics is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Zoë Lenkiewicz explains why doing better means embracing change.
UN Environment Assembly Resolution to Tackle Plastic Waste & Marine Litter
Moves to address marine litter and microplastics, prevent and reduce air pollution were among the 13 non-binding resolutions passed by the UN Environment Assembly at its recent meeting in in Nairobi.