Plastic Seas: From Water Bottles to Cigarette Butts, It All Becomes Tiny Particles, and It’s the Tiny Particles that are Most Deadly

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This tiny jellyfish and the octopus behind it are about the size of a pencil led, translucent, and barely visible to the naked eye. Key species near the base of the food web such as herring, sardines, menhaden and mullet routinely ingest plastic fragments as they filter the water for the nutritious plankton they feed on. 

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Pacific herring feed by facing into the current, hanging their jaws open, and sifting out tiny plants and animals. As plastics break down into fragments – as all plastics from discarded shopping bags to cigarette butts eventually do – the fragments mix in with the rest of the planktonic drift and are consumed by small fish… which are in turn consumed by larger fish, whales, sea lions and us.

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The tethered balloon that slipped from a child’s hand

The monofilament net the fisherman left hanging on a reef

The cigarette butt that doesn’t matter

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and shopping bags,

and Christmas ribbons,

and cups used only once

and the plastic packaging

inside the shopping bags,

the throw-away toys

inside the Christmas package

the straws and the lids on the used-once cups

are smothering our oceans

and everything in our oceans

and us.

These photos were taken at the Seward Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska. Visit an aquarium today to learn more about what you can do to help keep our oceans clean and healthy.

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22 thoughts on “Plastic Seas: From Water Bottles to Cigarette Butts, It All Becomes Tiny Particles, and It’s the Tiny Particles that are Most Deadly

  1. gorgeous photos.

    and plastic bags are a big problem in asia – where we are given a lot of them, and very few recycling/green efforts take hold with great effect. Here’s to hoping we change our habits before these beautiful creatures disappear.

    • Thanks for the comment. We’re hoping that all over the world, manufacturers and retailers will take far more responsibility for this issue than most currently do. Meanwhile, if everyone would remember that cigarette butts, plastic bottles, bags… all of it is doing a lot of damage.

  2. I reblogged – but not in the usual way but copying and pasting. My readers seem to think I write the blogs of others – so I thought it needed an introduction. Thank you so much.

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