Thursday, 29 January 2009

Mermaid's Tears

Globally, 100 million tonnes of plastic are generated each year and at least 10 per cent of that is finding its way into the sea. The United Nations Environmental Program now estimates that there are 46,000 floating pieces of plastic for every square mile of ocean. Some of that rubbish circulating the globe is 30 metres deep.

Each year, 113 billion kilograms of small plastic pellets nicknamed Mermaid's tears -the feedstock for all disposable plastics - are shipped worldwide and a scary proportion are going astray during transfer. These spilled pellets are ending up in gutters and drains and eventually getting carried into the ocean. Research carried out by the Marine Conservation Society in 2007 revealed these plastic pellets are the second most common litter item found on UK beaches.

By their very nature Mermaids Tears do not biodegrade, absorb harmful polychlorinated biphenyls in concentrations up to a million times greater than the surrounding seawater and they can also be a deadly threat to sea life, which mistake them for food.

Last summer Surfers Against Sewage released a film that exposes poor industry practice from 'plastic injection moulding factories', which is leading to the pollution epidemic of the UK's waterways and coastline. The evidence of the waste ending up on Cornish beaches was clear to see when then cameras filmed the shoreline down at Porthtowan.

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