Sadly much of the rubbish that we produce just gets thrown in the sea. This is a massive problem because it kills marine life, pollutes the environment and wastes vital resources.
Above are pictures I took whilst visiting a couple of local beaches Thorpe Bay and Shoebury East Beach. As you look at these pictures you should bear in mind that these are not actually considered to be bad beaches. The Marine Conservation Society gives a pass to the water quality at Thorpe Bay and Recommends Shoebury East Beach stating that it has the, ??Highest UK standard for bathing water quality?. Imagine what beaches which do not pass might have on them!
Below are some rather disturbing facts on marine litter.
- There are an estimated 18,000 pieces of plastic in every km2 of sea.
- An area of the North Pacific known as the Pacific Garbage Patch contains litter which has accumulated together. It is estimated to be twice the size of France.
- Garbage patches have been found in many other marine environments.
- A 2004 study estimated that some 20,000 tonnes of litter was deposited each year into the North Sea??70% of sinks to the bottom, 15% floats on the surface and 15% is washed up on beaches.
- It is estimated that, ??more than one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die each year throughout the world after either becoming entangled in or eating plastic materials found in the sea?.
- In 1998, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) attended over 200 incidents to vessels with fouled propellers. This is for one small country; it is not known how many incidents happen on a worldwide basis.
- A single cigarette butt contains plastic which may take hundreds of years to break down.
- A plastic bottle may remain intact for up to 450 years.
- Plastic litter on our beaches has more than doubled since 1994.
- Plastic doesn't disappear, it just breaks down into smaller fragments. The oceans now contain particles of plastic so small that they get lodged inside the muscle tissues of fishes.
Please click the link to see other Mass Observation posts on the theme of “rubbish” [photoblog.com].
305. Mass Observation - Rubbish. Part 1: Sea Junk