Reefs in Brief: Plastic bags and marine life

Plastic kills! Marinelife and more.

Tough measures against plastic bags were recently announced.

And tomorrow, a new web resource [minus]plastic will be launched!

Who announced new plastic bag control measures?
By China to ban production of ultra-thin bags; supermarkets and shops to charge for plastic bags from June 1. And Australia has expressed similar intentions, though no details were announced.

How many bags are we talking about?
Australia 4 billion 'floating around' (at any one time?), China 3 billion plastic bags A DAY

How about
That would be 2.5 billion a year.

Does Singapore's BYO bag day help?
100,000 plastic bags saved on Bring Your Own Bag Day
Channel NewsAsia 19 Apr 07

Plastic bags are wasteful
They are made from a non-renewable natural resource - oil. China has to refine five million tonnes - or 37 million barrels - of crude oil every year to make the plastics used for packaging

Plastic bags are forever
They take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

Plastic bags kill people
Plastic bags and other garbage can block drains, triggering disease and causing floods.

Plastics break down into very tiny pieces that persist for hundreds of years, are consumed by sea creatures and up to food chain to enter the seafood that we eat.

Plastic bags kill marinelife
Discarded plastic bags and other plastic strangle sea birds, marine mammals and even choke and kill whales. Plastic accounts for the deaths of more than a million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals every year. Sea turtles also eat plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish, their natural food.

How much plastic is there in the world's oceans?
There's an entire continent of plastic!

You CAN make a difference!

Tomorrow (12 Jan) is the launch of the [minus]plastic website with a [minus]plastic blog where celebrities take a 7-day challenge to reduce their plastic bag use and the [minus]plastic forum where you can learn and discuss plastic issues. More about the launch. The event is organised by ECO-Singapore.

Join International Coastal Cleanup Singapore to collect data on marine litter and help provide a better understanding of the problem and thus work towards a solution.

Join recent efforts to haul out abandoned drift nets from Singapore shores which kill so long as they remain on the shore.

More links

Australia plans to phase out plastic bags
Straits Times 11 Jan 08;
Canberra wants supermarkets to begin ending their use this year

China Launches Surprise Crackdown on Plastic Bags
Guo Shipeng and Emma Graham-Harrison, PlanetArk 9 Jan 08;

Jakarta drafts Bill on waste disposal to prevent floods
Straits Times 9 Jan 08;

Plastics 'poisoning world's seas'
By Maggie Ayre Producer, Costing The Earth BBC 7 Dec 06

Breaking the cycle of plastics in the ocean
Ocean Conservancy Magazine
Story by Andrew Myers

Are there really continents of floating garbage?
on the daily galaxy blog

No comments: