Posted by: The ocean update | August 4, 2015

Plastic Oceans (Galapagos, Equator)

The impacts of marine plastic waste on wildlife in Galapagos Plastic pollution in the Galapagos Marine Reserve © GCT

The impacts of marine plastic waste on wildlife in Galapagos Plastic pollution in the Galapagos Marine Reserve © GCT

August 4th, 2015 (Rohina Cameron-Perera). Over the past 60 years, plastic has been become a key part of our lives and as a result, our planet has been continually subjected to a tidal wave of plastic waste. In the last 10 years, more plastic was produced than in the entire 20th century and almost 50% of this plastic is used once and then disposed of. The inescapable problem is that plastic is indestructible, and since the plastic age begun, hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic wasted has been dumped in the ocean. It will not degrade and it will not disappear.

Plastic pollution is a global issue, with plastic now found in all of our oceans. It travels vast distances and to the most remote of places. It has been found in the deep sea and even buried in Artic ice. Once the plastic has entered the ocean, the global currents distribute it all around the world.  Around 46% of plastics float and will drift for years before finally creating huge islands of plastic where circular ocean currents force, called gyres, force them to meet.

Plastic pollution has a detrimental and often fatal impact on marine life. The 3 major impacts are :

  1. Entanglement:  Over 250 species are known to become entangled in plastic. Certain species of seals have entanglement rates as high as 7.9%.
  2. Ingestion: Around 700 species of marine wildlife, including turtles, sharks and seabirds, are known to have ingested plastic which then can lead to choking, intestinal blockage and even starvation.
  3. Increase in Invasive Species: Due to the increase in marine plastic disposal, there is a corresponding increase in invasive species and their transportation opportunities.

GCT is hosting an evening dedicated to celebrating the marine habitats of the Galapagos Islands on 01 October 2015, at the Royal Geographical Society in London. We’ll be joined for the evening by TV presenter Monty Halls, and BBC wildlife filmmaker James Brickell. With talks from our guest speakers, an exhibit of artefacts from Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage, marine plastic displays, Galapagos-themed art and a raffle, we’ve got everything required for a unique and enjoyable evening in central London.

By joining us for the evening, you’ll be helping to support vital conservation projects in the Galapagos. Tickets are available via our website or alternatively, you can give us a call at the office on 020 7399 7440. We hope you can make it !

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