The era of plastic marine pollution

Walking on the seashore is supposed to help reduce stress. The sounds of waves crashing and the sun going down can allow a peaceful environment. However, you have to deal with something else these days. Bottle cups, blades of nylon and plastic shards surround us. Human waste replaced stones, pebbles and shells.

Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic, was created in 1907. From that moment forward, the world’s future seemed to be compromised. According to a UN report, 13 million tonnes of plastic flows into the oceans every year. And because of their durability and indestructibility, plastic polymers take over hundred years to be decomposed. The enormous amount of this synthetic material in the seabed affected the ocean ecosystem and sparked off a new epoch: the era of plastic marine pollution.

Mandy Barker, an international photographer, realized a photographic report about marine debris. According to her, art can improve people to understand more easily this massive problem. In this specific case, photography is a useful tool to report the detrimental effects of marine plastic pollution. Moreover, it contributes to improve societal awareness and, hopefully, promote people activism. The purpose of Mandy Barker is evident:

“Art is a form of communication, that has the ability to educate, inform and increase awareness, in my case about the over-consumption of plastic entering the sea and its harmful consequences.”

As the Marine Pollution Bulletin points out, the negative effects of plastic pollution do have an impact on society, economies and human welfare. Marine debris is undoubtedly a source of environmental stress. It leads to an excessive deterioration of the aquatic milieu. In turn, people will face difficulties in carrying out several activities connected with the involvement of clean waters.

But how can we stop this global disaster? How can we contribute to preserve water and biodiversity? Researchers from Tel Aviv University produced a sustainable, biodegradable plastic with seaweed algae. The solution for the growing plastic consumption is to use the polymers inside the single-cell marine organisms. The objects constructed out of this particular plastic will be cheap and decompose rapidly.

The marine bio-plastic can become a revolutionary discovery not only for the oceans but also for our own society. This eco-plastic could be used for a vast array of activities, including clothing manufacturing or food packaging. This innovation represents the human role in our society: the capacity to find a balance between progress and compliance with environment.