It is simply synonymous with marine debris (which turns out to be a narrow view if you select this guide as your summer beach read). Every feature that makes plastic all-purpose and ubiquitous in daily life also makes it the hardiest and most pervasive marine debris. Whether it be the tiny resin pellets that form the starting material for the plastic industry or lost ghost nets weighing tons, plastic wreaks havoc in the world’s oceans. The code words for researchers are ingestion, entanglement, smothering, leaching of additives, adsorption of pollutants, and rafting of alien species. If three strikes means you’re out, then it should be “game over” for plastic. You can play a role by practicing the 6 “R”s and the one “U” (upscaling!) and by joining a beach cleanup. Help remove the “top 10” list of most dangerous marine debris items: bags, balloons, crab/lobster/fish traps, fishing line, fishing nets, plastic sheeting, rope, six-pack holders, strapping bands, and syringes. After all, this is one type of pollution that you and I can actually do something about.
- Resin pellet
- Shotgun shell