Ocean College

People out of Plastic

Date: 12 November 2019
Author: Marco
Position: 140 miles SSW from the coast of Tenerife
Geographical Position: 26°51.1 N / 17°49.0 W
Etmal: 175 nortical miles 

1907. A new resource conquered the market, which should play an important role about dismantling the environment. First hailed to heaven, then made responsible for million of deaths. A very powerful, water resistant, cheap to create, elastic material, a present from heaven. It changed the way of transport, food, medicine, clothes and journeys deeply.

Plastic- a miracle?

It could be a miracle or our death, depending on how we are handling it. Replacing some heavy metal parts from cars with plastic saved many tons of diesel. Making out of it a one-time-usable bottle, which couldn’t even get recycled, lead us in climatic catastrophes. Today there is no region left in the world, where no plastic can be found. The results from such a pollution can only be suspected. 

Because of the long durability, plastic stays for years in the environment. A normal PET plastic bottle, which is used in every supermarket, needs 450 years to get dismantled into small parts. But even then its damage to the environment doesn’t stop. Bacteria are able to travel onto these minimal plastics by ocean currents to new areas, which they couldn’t reach before. This way, diseases can spread much more effectively and faster over the whole world.

Microplastic

Another deadly pollution takes part in our bodies. Microplastic gets eaten by plankton which gets eaten by fish. Maybe you knew plastic enters our body this way. But not only by eating fish plastic comes into our organism. In nearly every product which contains water, one can find microplastic. We have reached a critical point now. A person with a normal diet consumes as much plastic in a year as a credit card is big. 

The smallest plastic parts are used as building materials by our body. Scientists found them in cells. Experts are doing research about this topic. But until now no results could be found. Do you think doesn’t cause any problems? Use your mind.

Microplastic also takes toxins and pesticides with them. They are responsible for cell mutations. Experts think that they cause problems with hormons and some kinds of cancer. Only to count some of the possible results. 

Washing

However, thirty percent of all the microplastic pollution takes part in washing machines. Yes, also in yours! Because of the resistivity which considers from rubbing clothes together, mini synthetic fibers break apart. With the waste water they flow straight into the next river and end up in the sea. Even the refreshing stations which should clean up the water before getting into rivers are not able to filter micro fibers. Because of the UV radiation in sunlight, micro fibers break down to microplastics.

But how can we stop this pollution? When we do our laundry on board, we use special made wash bags from Stop!MicroWaste. They are a great invention: Because they are made with a special weaving technique they filter the small fibers. After the washing you can simply gather the fibers in the bag and throw it into the next garbage can. This way we are able to treat the environment a little bit better.