So having a background in fisheries I have been well aware of the problems and adverse impacts of over fishing and industrial scale fishing being partially responsible for dramatic stock declines.
In the last number of years I have also seen more and more studies of the potential impacts of plastics in the oceans. Much of this has focused on the accumulation of plastics in the ocean gyres. This sort of left me feeling at least the plastic was concentrated in discrete areas, I am sure most of us have seen photos of animal like sea birds, turtles, dolphin, etc. killed by entanglement with monofilament line and netting.
Lately I have become aware of the probable impacts on fisheries due too microplastics. These are the result of photodegradation as most plastic is not biodegradable. These microplastics are consumed by all filter feeders from the smallest to largest animals in the oceans. Often accumulating in the digestive tracks of these animals. Because we can’t readily see these microplastic particles they don’t register in the public perception of environmental impacts. 90% of the plastic in the oceans is smaller than your fingernail.
However this video of the plastic around Bali should have a very disturbing visual impact on anyone watching it. Realizing just how much plastic that is so small it can"t be seen in the video is much harder to do. Essentially all the plastic ever produced is still present somewhere on the earth. I am now thinking that all disposable plastic should be band, and a tax on all plastic earmarked for clean up. The real and true cost of our use and production of plastic is not being payed by us in dollars, but by life in the oceans. I am reminded of the line in the movie “The Graduate” about plastics being the future. This plastic future is coming true in unforeseen ways. It may prove to be a very dismal future for life in the Ocean and on earth.