Man woke up to the massive harm the plastic pollution
of the oceans does to marine life and to man and he started taking serious
steps to reduce this ugly pollution of the oceans.
Sincere efforts to rid the oceans of plastics as much
as possible and as early as possible have yielded results; however, there
cannot be complacency over this reduction. Of course, there have been calls to
clean the oceans but before cleaning the ocean, stopping polluting it is a must
lest what is cleaned is dirtied sooner or later.
Thomas Maes, co-author of the study on the impact of
the European governments’ crack down on the use of plastics in the seas,
observed that cleaning up the oceans is a complex issue but the crucial thing
is to stop more plastic waste entering the seas, and then think about cleaning
"We can't be mopping the floor while the tap is
still open," he said.
Cleaning apart, the urgent necessity is to reduce as
much as possible polluting the oceans with mountains of plastic items used day
in and day out. And it has been reduced, at least to some relief of the worried
man, because of the strict actions of the European governments.
The number of plastic bags found in the seas around
Britain has significantly dropped since 2010 as European governments crack down
on their use, researchers said on Thursday.
The percentage of trawls by fishermen that catch at
least one plastic bag in the greater North Sea, off Britain's east coast, more
than halved since 2010 to 16 percent, scientists in Britain and the Netherlands said.
Prior to 2010, the average was 40 percent, said the
study which spanned 25 years.
Several European countries, including Ireland, Denmark, France and Britain, have introduced plastic
bag levies since 2003, which have led to massive reductions in their use.
"The action of all these nations ... meant there
are less bags being distributed, less bags ... escaping into the marine
environment," Thomas Maes, co-author of the study, told the Thomson
"If we think a bit more wisely about plastic,
especially the single use items we use in our daily life, we can make big changes,"
said the marine scientist at Britain's governmental Centre for Environment,
Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.
United Nations figures show 8 million tonnes of
plastic - bottles, packaging and other waste - enter the ocean each year,
killing marine life and entering the human food chain.
Scientists have urged tougher restrictions on plastic
waste. In December, almost 200 nations agreed to limit plastic pollution of the
oceans, warning it could outweigh fish by 2030.
In contrast to plastic bags, the researchers found the
amount of plastic fishing debris - including nets, floats, buoys - caught has
risen. Measures introduced to curb this will take a while to have an impact,
Several European countries have introduced deposit
return schemes for single use bottles in a bid to increase recycling.
Britain said it plans to follow later this year as
plastic is wreaking havoc on the marine environment – killing dolphins, choking
turtles and degrading precious habitats.
Plastics which have been in
the seas for a while may sink into the sea floor, or be torn up and gradually
turned into microplastics. They can take hundreds of years to degrade.