Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Ocean Is Dying While We Wait

Just weeks after experiencing a devastating earthquake in my own hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, I watched in shock and horror at images of the catastrophic tsunami that engulfed Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, sending it into meltdown and sweeping away whole cities. That day the world witnessed the sheer might of Mother Nature and as many as 20,000 poor souls perished in an instant. It was utterly terrifying.

Sometime not long after March 11, 2011, I decided to drastically reduce the amount and type of seafood I consumed. Up until that point I had considered seafood an essential part of a healthy diet and enjoyed an array of delicious treasures from the deep blue. But in the weeks, months, and years following the initial disaster it has become apparent, contrary to what the media would have us believe, that the radiation threat is far from under control. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant has not stopped leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean for more than six years now, and the future stability of the power plant (and our oceans) is precarious to say the least. We went from a household that consumed seafood at least twice a week to now only a handful of times a month.

We humans have a long history of irradiating our beautiful oceans. From nuclear testing in some of the most pristine environments,such as the Marshall Islands, to the dumping of nuclear waste far into the ocean's depths, 'out of sight, out of mind' has become firmly ingrained in us as a species.

While radioactive water continues to leak from the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, with no effective solution in sight, another more visible yet equally insidious problem continues to threaten our oceans and our health, perhaps even our survival. Yep, you guessed it, plastic. See the thing is, wild-life and ocean-life cannot discern between food and the broken up bits of plastic now ubiquitous in its habitat. As a result sea-birds, whales, seals, turtles, fish, and even plankton are ingesting our plastic waste that accumulates in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and then DYING! Fish that are spared a slow and painful death from starvation (as surprisingly plastic cannot be digested) are likely to end up on our plates as food, so the chance we are indirectly ingesting micro plastic is fairly certain. Our careless disposable mindset has come full-circle to bite us in the arse!

It's fairly well known that the chemicals used in plastic (ALL plastic, even 'BPA-free' plastics) are bad and can play havoc with hormones as well as releasing carcinogenic dioxins when burnt. Yet despite this, manufacturers continue to churn out disposable plastic at an unprecedented rate, and most of it is NOT recycled. Our consumption of these disposables is also on the rise, and it has to stop, the alternative is simply too scary to contemplate. We are literally killing our oceans, and in the process ourselves.

So will you wait for the government to do something? I mean surely if it's that bad they'd do something right? Right?! Or will you join the worldwide movement to stop the use of disposable plastics? If you want to wake up from the slumber, and take action for a better world, here's a good place to start: Plastic-free July. You can lessen your family's consumption of disposable plastic and petition local businesses to do the same.

You don't have to wait for an 'event', let's not waste any more time, now is good.

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