Feel the Plastic In-Between Your Toes

by

Picture going to the beach on a beautiful summer day, lying down on your blanket to get a tan and sinking your toes into the warm sand. Now instead, imagine when you slide your feet into the sand rather than soft powder, you feel hard plastic.

Sand is made up of different natural ocean sediments and minerals such as quartz and silica, over time the oceans’ movement wears down these larger rocks and washes it up onto our beaches, giving us sand. However, this seems to be the old definition of what sand was, nowadays plastic is just as prevalent in our sand and we put it there.

Aside from the obvious discomfort for humans, there are many ecological and environmental effects that this polluted sand causes, for example:

  • Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. Adult albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks. (L.A. Times)
  • Plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the Central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • On a single day in 2007, nearly 400,000 volunteers around the world picked up more than 6 million pounds of trash. A majority of the items were single-use disposable plastic items, such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. (Ocean Conservancy International)
  • Plastic pieces can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like PCB and DDT up to one-million times background levels. As a result, floating plastic is like a poison pill. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)

The photo above features two vacuum’s by the company Electrolux, on the left is one of their standard consumer vacuums sold to the public. On the right is a vacuum created by the company completely made from ocean plastics. The company actually created five of these beach plastic vacuum’s with plastic from five different oceans of the world, as a part of their new “clean up the environment” campaign. Electrolux who creates its consumer vacuum’s with 70% recycled plastic says it wishes to reach 100%, but there is a shortage of recyclable plastics available on land.

So the next time that you’re at the beach, make sure you “vacuum” up the plastic around you.

References:

http://www.reuseit.com/learn-more/top-facts/impact-on-oceans

http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/what-is-sand-made-of

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/vacuum-cleaners-made-from-ocean-plastic-highlight-ugly-pollution-beautiful-design.html

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