RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
"Rise Above Plastics" --- Lincoln City Environmental Scientist endorses Surfrider Foundation!
I would like to thank OPB and Think Out Loud for bringing this topic up for discussion. Similarly I applaud Senators Hass and Atkinson for championing this issue at the state level. This argument is not about Plastic vs. Paper, but simply do we want to allow for the consistent fouling of our waterways, coastline and oceans by way of single use plastics such as the petroleum based, non-biodegradable plastic bags found at grocers and convenient stores around the state? Surely there will be well funded arguments in favor of plastic bags, many with reasonable assertions, but the argument is not about only about manufacturing costs, transportation efficiencies, or the like. The reality is that billions of these bags are produced annually, only a small percentage get recycled, and the rest lay in landfills, are caught in trees, and are more and more often found in our oceans and seas. Further, a recent study entitled, "Persistent organic pollutants carried by synthetic polymers in the ocean environment," by Rios et.al, 2007 which details the invisible dangers associated with plastic marine debris and the risk to the very basic food chain we and the oceans depend on is of greater concern.
Plastics are organic molecules, and in the world of chemistry, "like, likes like", meaning that these plastic bits floating around in the ocean, pick up through adsorption other organic chemicals such as PCBs, DDT, PAHs and other chemicals that bioaccumulate in animal tissue. Once on the plastic bits, these chemicals may be ingested by unsuspecting filter feeders and other animals, eventually migrating up the food chain. Bioaccumulation is well documented, and this recent finding points to another mechanism for which these persistent chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic, can work their way into the food chain, and eventually humans as well.
Thank you again for airing this important issue.
Paul Robertson, MSc Environmental Diagnosis
Imperial College London
posted 3 years, 3 months ago
view in context