Research - Pelagic Plastic

Pelagic Plastics

Plastic in the ocean may be one of the most alarming of today's environmental stories. Plastic, like diamonds, are forever! Because plastics do NOT biodegrade, no naturally occurring organisms can break these polymers down. Instead, plastic goes through a process called photodegredation, where sunlight breaks down plastic into smaller and smaller pieces until there is only plastic dust. But always plastic remains a polymer. When plastic debris meets the sea it can remain for centuries causing untold havoc in ecosystems.

Studies indicate less than 5% of plastic ever gets recycled, while each American is said to contribute some 65 lbs. of plastic into landfills each year.The ocean is especially susceptible to plastic pollution. It takes longer for the sun to break apart plastic in the ocean than on land because of the oceans’ cooling capacity.

Most plastic floats near the sea surface where some is mistaken for food by birds and fishes. Plastics are carried by currents and can circulate continually in the open sea. Broken, degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.

Storms flush plastics down stream and ultimately into the ocean. Plastic debris looks bad, but it behaves worse. Far worse! Plastic pollution negatively effects trillions upon trillions of ocean inhabitants and ultimately humans.

"Synthetic Sea" shows how many marine birds and fishes ingest plastic, because it mimics the food they eat. The program reveals scientific research, indicating how plastic pieces can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like PCB and DDT up to one million times background levels. As a result, floating plastic is like a poison pill. As a result, new research regarding endocrine disrupters in floating plastic debris is being planned by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.. "Synthetic Sea" is a documentary based on scientific findings backed by published scientific papers.

Updated: 2/08