May 13, 2015 – Dr. Marcus Eriksen, cofounder of the 5 Gyres Institute, identified the many ways in which the plastic generated by today’s “throwaway culture” damages marine life during his guest lecture at international environmental consulting firm Marstel-Day’s Wildlife Conservation Awareness Campaign. A link to the webcast is located here.
Describing the planet’s oceans as “synthetic seas,” Eriksen said 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 269,000 tons currently drift on the surface of the world’s seas – an amount that excludes the plastic floating below the surface and lying on beaches.
Eriksen, a former Marine who served in the Gulf War, said the solutions require industry, government and consumer action, such as the phase-out of single-use plastic; reduced production and use of plastics through new technologies, such as compostable paper; and improved waste management to ensure better recycling through recovery and diversion.
“From what we know about the toxicity of plastics and the life cycle of plastics,” Eriksen noted, “the single-use throwaway culture needs to go by the wayside today.”
“We use life cycle costs across all industries – why would we not, as Dr Eriksen suggests, include calculating the impact on marine life and the food chain when contemplating life cycle costs for plastics?” Marstel-Day President and CEO Rebecca R. Rubin asked.
Rubin created the Wildlife Conservation Awareness Campaign to highlight major conservation issues and present ways that individuals and organizations can make a difference. Watch previous WCAC talks on video and learn how to help at https://www.marstel-day.com/marstel-day-wildlife-conservation-awareness-campaign.