July 03, 2011
Pacific Gyre Plastic Build-Up In Fish Measured

A couple of UCSD Scripps Institute grad students find nearly a tenth of the fish in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre have plastic in their stomachs.

Two graduate students with the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition, or SEAPLEX, found evidence of plastic waste in more than nine percent of the stomachs of fish collected during their voyage to the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Based on their evidence, authors Peter Davison and Rebecca Asch estimate that fish in the intermediate ocean depths of the North Pacific ingest plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000- to 24,000 tons per year.

On the bright side, Peak Oil is going to make plastic more expensive and therefore less used. Otherwise I hold out little hope for a big reduction in the amount of plastic finding its way into rivers and the ocean. Asian industrialization is boosting demand for plastic in a region where the most populated countries haven't achieved living standards high enough to spawn big environmental movements.

You can see my previous post on the plastic build-up in the Gyre. Also, the Wikipedia Great Pacific Garbage Patch page is pretty good on the topic. Lots of detail and diagrams.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 July 03 09:20 PM  Pollution Trends

anonyq said at July 5, 2011 11:08 AM:

Plastic is made from oil and gas because that is the cheapest. But making plastics from grain or coal isn't hard, just a little bit more expensive so expecting the end of the use of plastic is a little bit preature

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