Clean up Australia Day
‘Take a stroll along any beach after a storm and you will get an idea of just how much litter is floating around in the world’s oceans: the sand is strewn with plastic bottles, fish boxes, light bulbs, flip-flops, scraps of fishing net and timber. The scene is the same the world over, for the seas are full of garbage. The statistics are alarming: the National Academy of Sciences in the USA estimated that around 6.4 million tonnes of litter enter the world’s oceans each year.’ World’s Ocean Review
We are a lucky country in that not we don’t produce that much litter. Any amount is too much why?
Entanglement: Entanglement in marine debris can cause restricted mobility, starvation, infection, amputation, drowning and smothering. Turtles, whales and sea birds may be severely injured and even die after entanglement with fishing lines, fragments of trawl netting or plastic packing straps. Seabirds caught up in marine debris may lose their ability to move quickly through the water, reducing their ability to catch prey and avoid predators; or they may suffer constricted circulation, leading to asphyxiation and death. Fishing line debris, nets and ropes cut into the skin of whales or turtles, leading to infection or the slow and painful amputation of flippers, tails or flukes.
Ingestion: Marine species confuse plastic bags, rubber, balloons and confectionery wrappers with prey and ingest them. The debris usually causes a physical blockage in the digestive system, leading to painful internal injuries. Turtles frequently eat plastic bags, confusing them with jellyfish, their common prey. Sea birds eat polystyrene balls and plastic buoys, confusing them with fish eggs and crustaceans, and the Humpback, Southern Right and Blue Whales eat plastic debris. Autopsies performed on marine species such as Grey Nurse Sharks have found that swallowed hooks have punctured the stomach, pericardial cavity and oesophagus causing infection and death. (See more here)