Sea Turtle’s Plastic Pollution site tells a disturbing story:
In 2009, marine biologists with Disney’s Animal Programs in Melbourne Beach, Florida, discovered a green sea turtle that was having trouble digesting food. They found that a piece of plastic had lodged in the turtle’s gastrointestinal tract. When biologists removed the obstruction, the turtle defecated 74 foreign objects in the subsequent month. Among the items documented were four types of latex balloons, five different types of string, nine different types of soft plastic, four different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and two tar balls to boot.
Plastic litter is everywhere. A murky soup of small bits of plastic follows ocean currents. Every year it kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals. Birds feed bottle caps to their chicks. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Fish swallow the toxic bits.
It is easy for those of us in relatively litter-free cities to ignore what is happening to our oceans, but sailors see how our trash is poisoning the seas. One of them, Australia’s Ian ‘Thommo’ Thomson, decided to do something about it. After shaving 26 days off the previous record for solo circumnavigation of that huge country, Thomson turned part of his passion for the ocean into an effort to save it.
Thomson founded Save Our Seas International (SOS) in 2010 to “create Awareness of the issues, promote Alternatives, and take Action.” Until the ocean is plastic-free, SOS will keep campaigning.
They are lobbying to make Australia free of single-use plastic bags by 2017. Thomson uses his high profile, profits from SOS’s Eco Store and donations to travel the country speaking to schools.
Having lost his record to Bruce Arms, who shaved another four days off the 42-day record, Thomson has announced he is looking for sponsors for another run on the Around Australia World Record. Once again he will be sailing to raise awareness about the horrific cost of plastics to our environment.
Give the campaign to ban single-use plastic bags in Australia a boost by signing the petition below.
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Photo from Kevin Krejci via Flickr Creative Commons