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Marine mammals that die in large numbers with plastic – Press Telegram – Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California 2020-11-19 10:00:13 –

With the growing demand for reduced use of plastics, the environmental group Oceana has released the first summary of the horrific effects of this substance on sea turtles and marine mammals in the US waters. Rare animals are especially at risk of dying.

The most common cause of death in the cases described in the report is plastic intake, which interferes with intake and leads to starvation, but strangulation and drowning have also been reported. Of the 1,792 deaths surveyed in the report, 80% are endangered or endangered, and the actual number of marine deaths caused by plastics is believed to far exceed the reported cases. ..

And according to the report “Suffocation, Strangulation, Drowning: The Plastic Crisis in Our Seas” released on Thursday, November 19, this already dire situation is rapidly exacerbating.

“Plastic production is expected to quadruple in the coming decades, and if nothing changes, the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean is projected to triple by 2040,” the report co-author. Christy Leavitt says.

“The only way to turn off faucets and protect the ocean is for businesses to stop producing unwanted plastics, which requires national, state and local governments to pass policies.”

The report presents marine life facing deadly mazes of other human hazards such as pollution, habitat loss, fishing nets, ship strikes, poaching, algae outbreaks, rising water temperatures, and rising sea levels. Occurs when you are.

Currently, the United Nations estimates that 15 million metric tons of plastic will eventually flow into the ocean each year. According to Oceana reports, more than 900 species are affected by marine plastics such as seabirds and fish.

Among the sailor mammals focused on in the report, sea turtles accounted for 48% of the 40 species of plastic-related deaths reported in US waters. This includes endangered greens, loggerhead turtles, and Kemp’s ridley turtles.

In California’s waters, where sea turtles are less common, seals and sea lions accounted for 140 of the 142 recorded deaths, with the remaining two being whales.

Grizzly account

One of the most widely reported plastic-related deaths in the world was Cuvier’s beetle, which starved to death near the Philippines last year. The autopsy recorded that 88 pounds of plastic, such as groceries, garbage bags, and rice bags, filled the stomach.

“The digestive acid was unable to break down the compressed mass that filled the stomach and began eating the animal inside out,” the report said.

Although not included in Oceania statistics, the report states that the rescuer approaches the animal before it dies.

“In California, a northern elephant seal caring for a dependent child was found with a packing strap around its neck,” said 51 marine life organizations and government agencies from 2009 to early 2020. A report summarizing the data states. The Northern Elephant Seal Center has discovered about 60 pieces of plastic that the Loggerhead Seals have fallen off during rehab.

“Plastics ranged in size and variety, from microplastics that penetrated the gastrointestinal tract of baby sea turtles to DVD cases and giant plastic sheets swallowed by whales.”

Meanwhile, according to a study published in Science Advances in October, total plastic waste in 2016 was 42 metric tons, five times the production of the United States just six years ago. Following the United States, there are three populous locations. 30 metric tons of the European Union, 26 metric tons of India and 22 metric tons of China.

Fixing the problem

Oceana’s research specifically targets disposable plastics such as straws, takeaway equipment, bags and packaging, and states that the top 10 items collected during the world’s beach cleanup are these types of plastics. The report also emphasizes that such plastics never disappear once they are washed into the sea.

“When plastic enters the ocean, it doesn’t biodegrade,” the study says. “It breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics, which are consumed even by the smallest marine animals. Today, microplastics are found in every part of the marine food chain, including the seafood we eat. It has been discovered. “

Oceana’s recommendations rely heavily on reducing the production and use of disposable plastics while increasing the number of reusable containers and packaging. To achieve that, the report requires federal, state and local governments to approve strict plastic regulations.

In addition, the group has called on federal fisheries and wildlife agencies to improve reporting on the impact of plastics on marine life, and more actively supports and finances legislation to protect endangered species and marine mammals. Ask Congress to provide it.

The California State Legislature lags behind regulations on plastics rather than addressing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental issues. The state first banned disposable bags nationwide, and voters approved the move in 2016 and imposed restrictions on plastic straws, but in 2018, California would be more drastic than it would cut the state’s plastics. I opposed the measures twice. 75% waste over the next 10 years.

Currently, less than 15% of the state’s plastic is recycled, and both bills rejected by the state state that “by 2050, the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean will exceed the amount of fish.” This measure needed to reduce waste from plastic packaging and disposable products by combining recycling, replacement of plastic with compostable materials, and elimination of unnecessary packaging.

Among the opponents of the bill was the California Chamber of Commerce, which listed the costs of wholesalers, retailers, and customers. Proponents argued that, in addition to environmental benefits, city and county costs would be reduced as a result of reducing waste flow.

Enhanced versions of these bills have been submitted as a 2022 citizen initiative and are awaiting signature verification.

Meanwhile, some California city, county, and school systems have pushed for stricter regulations on disposable plastics. For example, Malibu and Manhattan Beach ban plastic cutlery, while Long Beach bans Styrofoam containers and cups. The University of California is phasing out the use of plastic bags, straws and cookware in stores. In addition, the eateries in the system will switch to reusable plates, cups and food containers and will stop selling plastic beverage bottles by 2023.

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