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Facts About The Plastic Continent

Claudia Miclaus
Have you imagined that all plastic is being recycled? Well, the plastic continent proves the contrary and it is a huge place in the middle of the Pacific ocean, it is twice the size of Britain!
Pollution seems to have reached the highest peaks these days. And maybe it would take a miracle like Captain Planet to try to stop it. The fact is people seem ignorant of its effects on our planet.
Having twice the size of Britain, this continent can be found right in the center of the Pacific Ocean. The region which is somewhat halfway between Hawaii Islands and California has been avoided for centuries by fishermen and sailors. This zone lacks the wind that is essential for sailors or the food for fish and people.
There lays the so-called "plastic continent", discovered about a decade ago by Captain Charles Moore. Instead of clear waters, Blue Ocean, all he could see was an outrageously enormous amount of plastic. Nothing but colorful plastics: bottles, wrappers and other pieces.
Others like the Australian founder of "Clean Up the World", Ian Kiernan, began his campaign two decades ago, in an attempt to save the environment from this great plastic menace.
He says he will always remember the very first impact of that awful image: "It was just filled with things like furniture, fridges, plastic containers, cigarette lighters, plastic bottles, light globes, televisions and fishing nets." He complains that "It's all so durable it floats. It's just a major problem."
According to the statement made by The United Nations Environment Program, more than a million seabirds and more than one hundred thousand underwater mammals have died because of the plastic invasion. Thus, animals like seals, dolphins and whales disappear each year.
The Dutch made a study in the North Sea according to which a number of 95% of seabirds were found with plastic fragments in their stomachs. More than 1600 pieces were found in the stomach of one bird in Belgium.
After his first visit in 1997, Captain Moore came back a number of times and he also created a foundation to research this issue, namely the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.
In 2005, Moore was accompanied in his journey to the plastic continent by a Canadian filmmaker, Ian Connacher. The latter shot a documentary there, called I Am Plastic. The vision Connacher encountered there left him dumbstruck.
The famous pollution fighter Greenpeace organization claims that some Dutch scientists have unfortunately discovered not less than six hundred thousand tons of plastic on the North Sea's bottom.
The problem is sea creatures mistake tiny plastic pieces for fish eggs, and thus they consume them. This is how the food chain is infected with such polluting elements. Eating plastic can seriously damage one's health.
In a Science journal last year issue they predicted that if overpollution and over fishing and hunting went on like this, the stocks of food in the seas would fall down by the end of 2048.
Greenpeace believes that it would greatly help if we all applied "the three R's": reduce, reuse and recycle. Naturally, there should be an increase in the awareness of the dangers of throwing away plastic objects.
In this idea of reducing the use of plastic and consequently reducing the cover of plastic which threatens our beloved earth, experts consider using bioplastics. According to the sayings of Grant Dow, Plantic's chief executive, the plastic which is composted turns into mere water and carbon dioxide.
"For all intents and purposes, it looks like plastic and feels like plastic and does the same thing as plastic in the application," he explains."It will only biodegrade in the presence of heat, moisture and bacteria, so it will sit in your cupboard pretty much indefinitely, but when the bacteria get to it in compost, that's it. It's gone."
Bioplastics undergo development attempts by scientists, and they are very likely to be able to bring changes to our daily life. For instance, in Great Britain, bioplastic packaging has already become in fashion inside stores like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury's. And this idea is becoming more and more popular in the eyes of food companies.
Connacher considers that information will bring about customer awareness, and will react accordingly: "We think products are going to be recycled, but they're not. We have become irresponsible with the way we use a lot of things, particularly disposable products."
And we thought plastic is always being recycled!