Andy Keller, Aboard The Sea Dragon – Part 2

Posted by — March 31, 2011 3:18 pm

A View of The Ocean From The Sea Dragon

Wednesday 3/30/2011
Journal Entry xb

Garen Hehksarian, another scientist on board is researching whether or not there is a connection between high concentrations of plastic and low concentrations of phytoplankton.  Apparently there has been a roughly 50% drop in phytoplankton numbers since the 1950’s, roughly the time when plastics started replacing metal, wood and other natural materials in consumer products.  Plastic is a miracle material, unlike anything found in nature.  It is amazingly durable and has improved our lives in so many ways.  For example, I was born premature, weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces, and spent the first 3 weeks of my life in a climate-controlled plastic incubator, which presumably saved my life.  However, unfortunately this amazing material is being increasingly used to make single-use products.  To me, it doesn’t make sense to design a product meant to be used for moments out of a material that lasts for centuries.  It seems that every year, single-use plastic packaging is becoming more and more pervasive, showing up in unexpected areas of our lives, from toilet seat covers in public restrooms to single-use tooth brushes.  Recycling rates for plastics are anemic and only recapture a small fraction of the waste being generated.  The rest becomes waste or pollution with many unknown consequences.
The research being done by the 5Gyres Institute on this South Pacific gyre expedition is important because humanity really doesn’t know the true impact of plastic pollution on the health of our planet.  As you know, you can’t have healthy humans without a healthy planet.

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