The ‘plastic tide’ hits a local beach: when will people learn?
In a break from study, a few friends and I head drove 15 minutes down the coast to Killarney, just past the Tower Hill reserve I mentioned previously.
The aim was to dive for southern rock lobster at a less-popular spot than our usual dive haunts. This wasn’t the best day for it; not that I had the chance to get in the water as I found out that I’d left my mask and snorkel at home!
So it was a good chance to wander the beach for an hour and see what rubbish had washed up or been dumped in this area. I was inspired by Californian conservationist Sara Bayles (on Twitter @thedailyocean), who has committed to picking up rubbish on her local beach for 365 non-consecutive days.
I didn’t have scales to weigh this collection of plastic bags, ropes, butter containers and other discarded bits and pieces but the photos give a rough idea of what can be found in this 100m stretch of coast.
Just made me a bit angry as well – the bits of rope were obviously thrown out by recreational or commercial fisherman, as were the bait baskets (red mesh basket at right and black one at the rear of shot). Laziness (and obviously a lack of concern for where the rubbish ends up and what creatures it affects) must be the only reason for throwing away anything man-made into the ocean (or waterway).
If I found someone doing this, all I could ask is: how can you pollute a place that your income or just pure enjoyment comes from? AND how many pieces of plastic would you like to pick out of your fish once ‘microplastic’ becomes a normal part of a sea creature’s daily diet?
UPDATE: This link did the rounds on Twitter this morning so I had to post it, Lies you’ve been told about the Pacific Garbage Patch, from the always interesting io9 site.
Well-known authority on the matter, Miriam Goldstein (from Deep Sea News) helped to refute some of the myths around the Patch, including the popular one that it’s a huge floating… well, patch of garbage; that it kills most animals in the area and that it is “killing” the ocean. To grab a few choices quotes from the article:
“There are millions of small and microscopic pieces of plastic, about .4 pieces per cubic meter, floating over a roughly 2736 square km area of the Pacific. This amount has increased significantly over the past 40 years.”
“there is a class of creatures who are actually thriving as a result of the plastic influx”
“the plastisphere isn’t destroying the ocean ecosystem — the creatures who ride on the plastic are. We’re witnessing an ecosystem that is slowly falling off balance.”
Definitely worth reading the rest and looking at Miriam’s academic papers on the subject.
Posted on May 18, 2012, in activism, conservation, fishing, Great Ocean Road, photography, sea life, tourism, Victoria and tagged beach, conservation, fishing, photography, plastic. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.