In Dire Straits With A Plastic Paddle: The Plastic Crisis in our Oceans

By Holly Hogan Posted May 23, 2018 Seabirds living in the age of plastic waste (By Tyros.andi [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons). What is plastic and why are we suddenly so concerned about it? Plastic is a petroleum-based product, made up of many long carbon-based strands. There are different types of plastic; all have strong carbon bonds that make plastic durable and lightweight.   This quality also means that plastic molecules do not break down.  Rather, items simply break into small pieces and eventually become what is known as microplastics.   Fabrics made with plastic (e.g. fleece, polyester) shed fibres when they are washed, adding microfibers to the marine system. [pullquote]...one million water bottles are sold each minute around the world.  Of these, only 8% are recycled.[/pullquote] Modern plastics came into large-scale use after WWII, making previously unaffordable products cheap, easy to mass-produce and accessible to everyone.   Plastics are now…

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