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ECO Church - The problem of Ocean plastic - continued

Just over one hundred years ago a new substance was invented, a wonderful new material that could be molded into all kinds of shapes and great care was taken to ensure that it was hard-wearing, rot-proof and virtually indestructible: plastic.

Oceans cover over half the surface of planet Earth.

8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the sea every year.


In the ocean, plastic entangles and drowns vast numbers of marine creatures but it may have more widespread and far reaching consequences.

A pod of Pilot Whales has been observed having to share their ocean with plastic; plastic bags swirling around them and getting caught on their fins. Pilot Whales live together in what are perhaps the most closely knit of families in the whole ocean. A mother Pilot Whale has been seen to be carrying her newborn young that has died. She appears to be reluctant to let it go and has been observed carrying it around for many days.

In top predators such as these, industrial chemicals can build up to lethal levels - and plastic could be part of the problem. As plastic breaks down it combines with these other pollutants that is then consumed by vast numbers of marine creatures.

It is possible that the Pilot Whale's calf may have been poisoned by her own contaminated milk.

Pilot Whales have big brains and can certainly experience emotions. In observation, judging from the behaviour of the adult Pilot Whales, the loss of the infant has affected the entire family.

Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the the World's oceans is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come.

The creatures that live in the vast ocean are perhaps more remote than any other animals on the planet

- but not remote enough, it seems, to escape the effects of what we are doing to their world.........

Within the vast area of the ocean, in several places large forests of kelp are located making the sea green, and the green seas are teeming with life. In other areas flowering green grass appears on the ocean bed. Green turtles eat this grass and sharks eat green turtles. The sharks patrol the grass lands and so keep the turtles moving  ensuring that any patch of grass is not overgrazed. This grass land absorbs and stores up to 35 times as much carbon dioxide as the same area of a rain forest. Therefore, the oceanic grass lands and the sharks are surprising allies in the fight against a warming climate.

It is the green seas that are the basis of almost all life in the world's oceans.



St Andrew's