After all the words that have been written about plastic’s deadly effect on the ocean (I previously mentioned some well-publicised examples which were tackled by Miriam Goldstein), the above photo shows one recurring feature on many of my recent beach walks: plastic bottles or buckets that have become home to colonial molluscs and barnacles.
Where once you may have seen pieces of driftwood from wooden ships or small boats wash up on the shore complete with barnacles attached, the plastic tide has given these creatures some new playgrounds to inhabit and use as transport.
It’s not the sight we want to become used to though and I suspect that anyone who tries to claim mollusc populations can benefit long-term from plastic production could be in the pocket of a big manufacturer.
The hard surfaces of plastic debris is providing an attractive and alternative substrate for a number of organisms. The introduction of non-endemic species can have a catastrophic impact on indigenous species and biodiversity and the increase in synthetic and non-biodegradable material pollution will accelerate the process (Gregory, 2009)
Anyway, HAPPY OCEANS DAY! Hope those living on or near the coast took the time to get out there, do some cleaning up or at least talked to people about how important the oceans are to our survival.