In a March 2016 article for Truthout, Dahr Jamail reports that, “people who consume average amounts of seafood are ingesting approximately 11,000 particles of plastic every year,” due to the extensive amount of plastic that humans have been dumping into the ocean. Plastic pollution not only affects humans around the world, but also marine life and the ocean itself. Jamail quotes Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez of the National Oceanography Center at Britain’s University of Southampton: “There is this idea that oceans have unlimited inertia, but nanoparticles of plastic getting into marine animals and the food chain are affecting fish fertility rates, and this affects food security and coastal populations” As a result of persistent human behaviors, the earth’s oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, according to a January 2015 World Economic Forum report.
Although those statistics and odds sound grim, the article does offer a ray of hope for the future. Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, believes that a healthy future for the world’s oceans will require a new, zero-waste approach to consumer goods. “We could have a healthy ocean in 50 years if we make some bold moves,” Nichols said. Those moves would include “a cleaner, more responsible set of actions for how we get energy from the ocean and how we use them as a source of food.”(Nichols).
As of March 2016, a review of recent corporate news coverage indicates that many of the themes in Jamail’s article have not been covered in the corporate press, including especially the extent to which the seafood we eat contains plastic, as well as a number of the solutions to this problem, as discussed by Dr. Wallace Nichols and other researchers.
Source: Dahr Jamail, “Not a Fish Tale: Humans Are Ingesting Plastic Thanks to Ocean Pollution,” Truthout, March 21, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35291-not-a-fish-tale-humans-are-ingesting-plastic-thanks-to-ocean-pollution.
Student Researcher: Michelle Bryant (Citrus College)
Faculty Researcher: Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)