Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 24th December 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

The subject of waste is always one to bear in mind, particularly at Christmas time when there is both lots of food waste and lots of packaging leftover when the festivities are finished. The best policy to follow is, of course, to waste as little as possible and to recycle as much as possible.

Plastic waste is a huge problem today. Research has shown that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tonnes, floating in the world’s oceans. This is damaging to the entire food chain. The amount of plastic pieces, mostly from food, drink, clothes packaging and fishing gear was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six year period to 2013.

The ocean’s wildlife is being affected in two different ways; large pieces of plastic can strangle seals, turtles eat plastic bags and fish ingest fishing lines while smaller pieces are eaten by fish and therefore passed up the food chain, eventually to humans.

All this plastic has accumulated in five large ocean gyres, where circular currents churn up and shred the debris, making it more ingestible to smaller creatures. Each of the major oceans has a plastic filled gyre, the most famous is the ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’ covering an area approximately the size of Texas.

Researchers expect that the volume of rubbish will increase because more and more ‘throwaway’ plastic is being produced and only 5% is recycled worldwide.

We need to act more responsibly and recycle much more.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Victoria Nicholls.

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