Film “Synthetic Sea” – how plastics have entered the marine food chain, and the consequences

This film “Synthetic Sea” has been produced by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and records c. 2010 the results of a research project to evaluate the presence and impact of non-biodegradable plastic (man-made plastics) on the oceans and the life that lives there. The implications of the facts portrayed by this film are worrisome, to say the least.

The introduction to the film on the Algalita website states: “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.

“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 zooplanktonzooplankton Zooplankton form the group of tiny animals such as minuscule jellyfish and rotifers present in the marine environment. They are a major source of food for those higher up the food chain, and their numbers relate directly as a good indicator to the nutrient enrichment of the sea of the area. Note: phytoplankton are microscopic plants, and zooplankton are microscopic animals. in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.”

“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. “Synthetic Sea” is a documentary based on scientific findings backed by published scientific papers.

Source: Alalita Marine Research Foundation. To see the film “Synthetic Sea”, click here

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