Take your rubbish home with you – don’t add to the pollution pandemic
More than eight million tons of rubbish finds its way into the worlds’ oceans each year
In a lot of living rooms there is a tree with tinsel and a star on top. Under that tree will be presents all beautifully wrapped up, as excitement builds and people wonder about what is inside the CSIRO are asking people to think of the consequences of unwrapping these gifts and the refuse from them.
While a lot families will be at home for Christmas day some families will gather on beaches across Australia for a BBQ and giving gifts, and in some places families will also be fishing.
A lot of Christmas gifts will be covered in plastic or are plastic themselves, the wrapping will be then thrown out which will fill landfills. In a lot of cases, it will end up in the ocean, especially because of the families who are gathering there. For Australia this is a major issue. For Australia the coastline from Brisbane to Melbourne, western coast of Tasmania and the southern part of Western Australia are the worst hot spots according to research, published today in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
CSIRO Principle Research Scientist Chris Wilcox said “More than eight million tons of rubbish finds its way into the worlds’ oceans each year,”
According to the research paper Estimating quantities and sources of marine debris at a continental scale published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Plastic debris in the ocean is an emerging global environmental issue. Surveys of plastic in the open ocean have documented densities up to 580,000 pieces per square kilometre, with a recent estimate of 4.8–12.7 million metric tons of plastic debris entering oceans annually. The report also highlighted that particularly high concentrations along the coastal margins came from near the local area.
Dr Wilcox stated that while up to 40 per cent of litter found during clean-up activities are beverage containers, things like discarded fishing equipment are also common culprits.
The effect of fishing equipment in the ocean is devastating on marine life. The research paper , Understanding the sources and effects of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear on marine turtles in northern Australia, highlighted that between 5000 and 15,000 sea turtles are entangled each year by derelict fishing gear washing ashore in northern Australia alone. Mr Wilcox said “We think turtles eat plastic bags because they look like jellyfish in the water and with seabirds it’s the smell of plastic which takes on a krill-like smell in the water.”
“With millions of tons of rubbish produced each Christmas, it’s something to keep in mind during this years’ celebrations.
“If you’re out on the beach or at the park, take your rubbish home with you – don’t add to the pollution pandemic.”