I don’t usually watch David Letterman – it is on at weird times and I am usually half asleep when it is on but I did catch some of the interview between Captain Charles Moore founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation who are engaged solely in the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds, through investigative research on the impact of plastic marine pollution.

I have included the videos if you missed it but he basically lays out the complete picture of what our plastic waste is doing to the ocean and ultimately the food we eat and the climate we depend on.

PART ONE – David Letterman interviews Captain Charles Moore

PART TWO – David Letterman interviews Captain Charles Moore

Here is a quick wrap up courtesy of Fake Plastic Fish:

  • The trash in the North Pacific Gyre (Great Pacific Garbage Patch) is not a “floating island” as so many people think but is more dispersed.  It’s more like a soup than an island.
  • The trash is 90% plastic.
  • The trash has been accumulating ever since the dawn of the disposable plastic age in the 1950’s.
  • 25% of the trash is debris from ships, but 75% of it comes from land-based sources.
  • After just 3 days of tracking trash down the L.A. and San Gabriel rivers, Captain Moore found 2.3 billion pieces of trash weighing 30 tons on its way to the ocean.
  • Plastic in the sea is a source of pollutants as well as a sponge.
  • As a source, plastic in the ocean breaks down into smaller pieces via photodegradation, and the sea water leaches softeners (often toxic phthalates) out of it that then pollute the water.
  • Like a sponge, plastics soak up other pollutants [like PCB and DDT] from the surrounding sea water which are then ingested by marine animals that mistake it for food.
  • Ultimately, we consume these pollutants when we eat fish.
  • Plastic bags can smother and bleach coral.
  • Plastic has been found throughout the water column, which has an average depth of two miles.
  • Plastic in the ocean may interrupt gas transpiration, which is how we sequester CO2.
  • There’s a “snowball’s chance in hell” that we can actually clean it up.  It would be like sifting the Sahara Desert.

I do have to say this interview is heavy and left me feeling, well, horrible! It is depressing! The state of our planet is actually depressing – what we are doing and in turn, what we are not doing!

But we shouldn’t let us stop the changes we can make! There are so many things YOU can do EVERY DAY to reduce the use of plastic.

What are you ideas for real reduction of plastic in our lives? Every day I make choices about what to buy, what to use, how to live better and constantly I am running up against plastic! It is hard to tackle this issue and we really should be in it together – so let me know how you feel about plastic so I don’t feel so alone!

north pacific gyre_002

Thanks to Fake Plastic Fish for letting me know about this and honestly all her hard work is an inspiration!

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