Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why awareness to plastic in the ocean matters

Plastic bags keep popping up out of no where. Jennifer O'Keefe and I went out on a cruise with the Carolina Ocean Studies Program to practice trawling for plastics getting ready for our research cruise into the North Atlantic Gyre from Bermuda commencing this weekend. The day also consisted of children and their parents learning about the ocean and its critters. The instructors stressed the dangers of plastic bags in the ocean and how sea animals accidentally ingest them. We were at a stop light leaving from a long day out on the water when we witnessed a plastic bag float up high over the hood of Jennifer's car. I thought about jumping out to grab it, but visualized me catching it right about the time the light changed . . . yeah, not a good idea. We watched, confident the people just off the boat would see it, remember what they learned on the cruise and grab it. Filled with air, the bag casted a large shadow on the ground as it then plunged into it and skipped along like a giant sea gull. If it were alive, it might have provoked fear as it approached the three-som standing in front of the waterway. But as if it were invisable, the bag never even received a glance as it slid across there feet then jumped high over a three foot railing and down into the waterway. Jennifer and I looked at each other rolling our eyes. Why would we wig out about this? Watch this video of a whale dying from ingesting plastic bags. It takes only a second to pick up bags in the environment and when you do, say to yourself, "I may have saved a life."

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