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Despite all the fish in the sea – a whale dies of starvation

June 22nd, 2017

Many people were very upset by the recent film from Sky Ocean Rescue of a Cuvier Beaked whale having to be shot, even sadder when we find that the reason the animal was so sick is that it was starving, a stomach full of plastic bags instead of fish.

If you were sickened by the sight of an otherwise healthy animal being destroyed, please remember that feeling when you next go shopping. The produce and checkout bags carrying your goods are probably made of conventional plastic (whether recycled or not).  This is the kind of plastic that will lie or float around in the open environment for decades, eventually finding its way into the sea, where it is often mistaken for food by whales and other sea creatures.

This is both heart-breaking and frustrating, especially when you learn that the technology to prevent plastic waste accumulating in the oceans has been around for 10 years or more and has been proved by dozens of scientific tests.

Oxo-biodegradable plastic is as strong, waterproof and flexible as conventional plastic, but with one very important difference.  It will degrade and biodegrade in the open environment much faster than nature’s waste, and it leaves nothing behind, no fragments of plastic or toxic residues, on land or sea.

It is also a technology that can be introduced right now, and it  is a scandal that it is not being used more widely.      There is no need to wait because oxo-biodegradable plastic can be made in existing plastic factories with existing workforce and machinery,  at little or no extra cost,  and in some forward-looking countries in the Middle East they have made it mandatory.

Our short life plastic packaging items i.e. carrier bags, produce bags, bin liners, sweet wrappers and multipacks etc. can and should be made using this technology without delay.  80% of the plastic found in the world’s oceans originates on land, less plastic accumulating on land means less plastic getting into the world’s oceans.

The common mantra Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Respect has another equally important element – Responsibility.

Don’t leave it to someone else – take responsibility and use your voice.   Write to your MP, or Senator, plastic bag manufacturer, snack producer and anyone else using plastic to wrap their products.  Demand they switch to oxo-biodegradable plastic with immediate effect. Support the companies that do and shun the ones who do not.

We are all responsible for the problem.  We have the opportunity to be responsible for the solution.

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