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“A Plastic Ocean”: The Film focusses on Plastics in the Oceans that is harming Marine Life


Plastic sludge and garbage, a blight on the world’s oceans.

Eight million metric tons of plastic wind up each year in the oceans, harming marine life and entering the food chain.

A film crew traveled the globe to document the rubbish, producing a new documentary film called A Plastic Ocean that looks at the problem, and its solutions.

Julie Andersen of the Plastic Oceans Foundation said what is seen is just the tip of the problem.

“Half of the waste actually sinks to the bottom, some plastic sinks to the bottom, and what remains on the surface actually breaks down,” Andersen said.

The filmmakers found trash in ocean gyres, the circulating currents that trap large concentrations of pollution in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, home of what some have called a plastic island.

“What we found in the center of the Pacific was not a floating island of plastic. What we found was a plastic smog that permeated all the water,” Andersen said.

The debris infects the food chain, sometimes visibly, and more so at the microscopic level, where the plastic particles interact with other pollutants.

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Adam Leipzig, producer of A Plastic Ocean, said, “Heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, industrial runoff. It acts like magnets. These toxins hitchhike on the plastic, and when seafood ingests the plastics, those toxins offload into the fatty tissues.”

Those fish are then consumed by other sea life and by people.

China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are the worst plastic polluters. The United States, although a leader in recycling, is in the top 20, since it produces and consumes so much plastic.

There are efforts around the world to address the problem, including at this newly opened recycling center in Lebanon.

But Andersen said there is more people can do.

“Cut back on single-use plastics, straws, plastic cups, plastic water bottles, plastic bags and find alternatives like reusable materials,” she said.

She said healthy oceans are essential to our survival. (VOA)

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Australia’s Use Of Drumlines Is Killing Endangered Shark Species

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef, Pixabay

Protectionist groups on Tuesday warned that Australia’s use of drumlines under the country’s Shark Control Programme in the Great Barrier Reef is killing endangered shark species.

Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society released a series of photographs and videos of two endangered scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) found dead on a line near Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Efe news reported.

“Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef,” Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International, said in a statement.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

“Lethal drumlines provide nothing more than a completely false sense of security, at the expense of the lives of threatened species that are crucial to our Great Barrier Reef ecosystem,” she added.

Tooni Mahto, a campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said these “same ineffective, lethal methods” have been used by successive Queensland governments since the 1960s.

She called “for a change in our views of sharks and a change in policy to reflect that.”

According to Shark Control Programme statistics, 10,480 sharks – many of them innocuous – have been caught on lethal drumlines since 2001 in the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage area.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef. Flickr

It has also killed a significant numbers of rays, turtles, fish and dolphins.

Also Read: Brisbane, Australia Protests Against Plans To Decriminalise Abortion

“Humane Society International is currently engaged in legal action against the QLD Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for shark culling on lethal drumlines within the World Heritage-listed reef,” the statement said.

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef, although the Queensland government has removed seven of the 26 species of shark from its target list since the legal challenge was launched. (IANS)