G’day Fellow Volunteers
Just for once this’ll be a slightly serious edition of T’Witter. That’s because we’ve had an avalanche of stuff from various media this past few days about the effects of litter on our coasts, seas and oceans, particularly plastic litter (PL). Just a few highlights :
1. Henderson Island is the remotest island on the planet. It’s uninhabited. A 2017 study by the University of Tasmania estimated 38 million pieces of PL on it. Thirty-eight million.
2. Because of tidal currents, PL collects in The Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s 100’s of miles from land. It’s a soup of plastic, big lumps down to tiny fibres, suspended within 5 metres of the surface. Estimates of The Patch’s size vary from 700,000 to 15,000,000 sq km. Greenpeace estimate The Patch is 3 times the size of the UK. We know the amount of seaborne PL is growing rapidly, and so is this infamous “Patch.”
3. Dutch scientists studied Jan Mayen (sp??) Island, the remotest in the N. Atlantic. They found an average of 575 pieces of visible PL for every 100 metres of shoreline. Neighbouring Svalbard Island has 876 per 100 metres.
4. We’ve no idea how much PL now coats the seabed but it’s been found in the Mariana Trench, the deepest area of ocean on the planet.
5. PL microfibres are now being ingested by plankton. Small fish eat plankton. Bigger fish eat small fish and so on up the food chain – right up to us.
6. Internationally we produce 100bn (one hundred billion) plastic bottles annually. They’re non-returnable so massive quantities end up as PL. Coca-cola alone produces one billion. “Coke” are lobbying the EU to stop a bottle-return scheme!!
7. What about UK coast and beaches? The Marine Conservation Society’s latest report indicates that PL has increased by 23% in one year. At that rate it doubles every 4 years.
8. Pieces of PL are commonly mistaken by sea-creatures and birds as food. They ingest them. PL is the biggest single killer of albatross, and they live and breed hundreds of miles from big land-masses! Turtles, whales, puffins, skuas ….. the list of victim species is large and rising rapidly.
From the above : (1) PL is toxic and never biodegrades ; it’s starting to smother our ecosystems, a present for our grand-children to cope with. (2) Land-based PL stats ain’t included here – enough is enough, eh?? (3) Civic Pride’s volunteers collect an ever-increasing amount of litter from an ever increasing area. Please make every effort to “do” your area and to get others to join the ongoing campaign. Let’s do what we can do. We won’t save the planet on our own but we’re starting to make a BIG difference to our area.
THIS WEEK :
WEDS 13TH BACUP PRIDE 10AM please check their website/Facebook page for meeting place
THURS 14TH CIVIC PRIDE meet 9.30am at the store or 10am on the Town Square to finish last week’s tasks, particularly on the tubs and gardens
FRI 15TH 8PM ONWARDS at Buffer Stops. Chat might include sea-borne litter horror stories??
SUN 17TH MEET 10AM AT HARDMAN’S MILL, NEW HALL HEY. The bypass is being mown on Monday 18th so needs a big effort to clear the litter before the machines can shred it – a big area so please help if you can.
SUN 17TH MEET 10AM CO-OP CAR PARK, John St. Haslingden for grand litterpick.
MON 18TH MEET 10AM HASLINGDEN LIBRARY CAR PARK – tlc for planters, I hear, plus litter of course.
SORRY! Yup, a right load of doom in this week’s Witter. It’s typical of the info Civic Pride now gets from national/international campaigners. So for once, we’ve passed it on and put it out there.
Normal irreverence will resume next week.
Chris PS do please give us your reaction to this week’s format. Thanks!