Whilst everyone gossips about whether climate change data has been manipulated or not and traders quietly start making fortunes trading carbon credits, there is an environmental disaster happening right under our noses.

This disaster can be seen and quantified. It can be measured and easily demonstrated to the world’s population. But it gets very little exposure.

The disaster I speak of concerns the huge plastic soup at least the size of Texas that circulates the Pacific Gyre. This mass of plastic covers two connected areas either side of the Hawaii Islands. An ocean gyre is where the water circulates somewhat akin to it going down a plug-hole.

Please don’t rely on what you read here, Google it. Some of the accounts of metres of plastic line being found in turtles stomachs and birds and fish full of bottle tops swallowed mistakenly for prey are quite disturbing.

This plastic soup starts off as large bottles etc then breaks down to smaller and smaller pieces. But the great worry for humans is that wildlife ingests the smaller pieces such as bottle tops and string right down to molecular sized particles. The plastic by then has ‘soaked up’ and concentrate many of the most damaging of the pollutants found in the world’s oceans, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). These then potentially end up on our dinner plates.

Somewhere in the region of 70% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean sinks to the bottom. In concentration it can smother the sea bed and kill off sea-life.

For those that think it is a US / Japanese problem should also realise that there are five oceans and therefore five ocean gyres. On the first of Feb, the Sea Dragon with a team of scientists on board sailed from Bermuda to investigate the Atlantic gyre and the extent to which polluted plastic ends up in the food chain. According to Dr Marcus Eriksen of the Sea Dragon expedition “Plastic particles at sea act as magnets for chemicals like DDT, PCBs, flame retardants and other pollutants.

This is the reason I treat global warming with such scepticism. If our environment really mattered we would directly act to deal with this problem. The fact that this is on the fringe with the bulk of scientists and politicians effectively ignoring it makes me think there cannot be any votes or money in it for them. If this plastic soup that is building up in our oceans is not worthy of direct action then neither is climate change.

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