THE CONTINENTS OF PLASTIC
- What is happening in the oceans without our knowledge?
- How are changing the fragile balance of our seas?
- Did you know that this has a direct consequence on the life we live?
- Did you know that there were five major continents of plastic in the oceans?
- Did you know how much mercury is in the fish we eat?
- Did you know how much dynamite (TNT) was downloaded during the Second World War and how many bombs there are in the bottom of the sea?
A shocking story from Nicholas Carmineo
“I’m Nicholas Carmineo, I teach at the University of Bari, but I’m also a writer and a navigator as well. Over the past three years I have made a long journey that took me from the oceans to the Mediterranean, and I want to tell you about it..
My journey started by going into the sea of plastic in London, where I met those who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, what is it? It is an immense island formed by all the plastic waste that we threw in over the past 50 years. The sea, through the currents, causes them to converge at some places and there they will remain, perhaps forever.
I called Commander Charles Moore, and together we went together to see this island of plastic. In my book, “How Deep is the Ocean” (Ed. Chiarelettere) the name of the island that does not exist, because, in fact, it consists of billions and billions of tiny fragments which becomes dust, because the plastic in the sea breaks down, they bio-degrade. Why are they so dangerous? Why imitate the plankton, the base of the food chain? The fish then eat, from the smallest to the largest, and the fragments of plastic entering the food chain and come down to us, what the consequences are we do not know yet.
How do you realize if there is plastic? Maybe the water looks crystal crystal clear, well then you have a network, called “Manta Ray Troll,” a kind of funnel that filters the sea. When it comes out of this network we realize the amount of plastic that is there.
We then switched oceans to monitor the Mediterranean. I participated in a scientific expedition called “Expedition Med” and we discovered a devastating thing, in our Mediterranean, that being an enclosed sea of plastic and learning there is even more! Billions and billions of micro-fragments. The same sand where we walk now is plastic. Give it a try, take a rake, what the children use to play with, and see how many micro-fragments there are!!!!!
Where is the island of plastic? They are formed by the millions of objects of disposable plastic, polyethylene, which we use every day, glasses, plates, bottles. When the plastic was invented the people that invented it won a Nobel Prize, and it was called the element that nature had forgotten to create. But are we really sure and safe? There can’t be anything that is not then turned into simple compounds, which isn’t absolutely bio-degradable. So must be our passage on this earth, must not leave any trace. By navigating I learned it should be similar when you go on a sail boat, the bow opens up a passage in which, we pass through the middle and then this opening closes behind us.
Plastic is not the only element that is ravaging our seas, and as we have seen, there is also mercury. I noticed that on Gargano when seven young sperm whales became beached. These young sperm whales were born and raised in the Mediterranean. Something terrible has pushed them to swim towards the Gargano coast, seven days swimming incessantly without eating, only to die there. All of the cases I am not positive, but one thing is certain and that is: Mercury! When analyzing the tissues of the sperm whales there are many pollutants that we find at sea, including Mercury which is among the most dangerous. There are two types of risk, when there is a specific issue. There is factory that uses polluted mercury in one given area, and the remainder for the majority of consumers.
In Minamata Bay, Japan, there was pollution specific to a community of fishermen who ate fish. The mercury entered the body of the fish, resulting in about a thousand deaths! And we should not think that Minamata is so far away, because there is our Mediterranean! We have Augusta Priolo, Taranto! The mercury for pregnant women accumulates in the fetus and the babies are born deformed babies are born, this has happened in Minamata and it happened here as well. So, sperm whales, like our children, are born slaves to something that we give them before they were born, a prenatal form of slavery. Is this the legacy we want to leave?
And in my long journey, I also speak of TNT, the arsenal of war that was spilled into the sea. Yes, because we think that the sea is our landfill, just because we do not see them anymore, yet the bombs remain there and armaments remain as well, anything that is spilled into the sea. Just like in Fukushima, Japan after the nuclear power accident, sooner or later they will come back! Our economic system does not contemplate nature, we think that natural resources are inexhaustible, but it is not so! It is us that need to adapt to it.
I have met many people who have dedicated their lives every day to the sea, they are ordinary people. Commander Charles Moore, who discovered the island of plastic, did the carpentry work! He had a legacy and has spent all the money for research and the dissemination of this form of pollution. I met with commanders of the Navy, divers, our silent heroes, who go down in the depths and with ax and chisel remove the bombs from this bed, risking their lives, yet no one knows them. We should do as they do in our daily lives, all it takes is simple gestures, when we go shopping at the supermarket our own bags, we use glass bottles, which are recycled, do not throw them into the environment. We think that all bags are bio-degradable, not all are and often go into the sea, shatter and become dust. We must choose plastics that break down into simple compounds.
You can Save the Sea!!!! Spread the word! ” Nicholas Carmineo