It has been 5 days now. And it’s the first time that I see a dead fish on the Frinton beach. I am sure it is not that uncommon but seeing it myself made me react faster than if someone had told me. And I am pretty sure the cause of this fishes death is not pollution. The tide just went out and when the waves retrieved he stayed stuck to the sand with no way back out to the sea. Nevertheless this sight made me think of all the fish that die because of plastic pollution and are contaminated in general. Here are some facts:
- One-third of fish caught off the south-west coast of England have traces of plastic contamination ( generally called microbeads ) – source: Plymouth University Study (Published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin )
- “After years of declining use, the number of single-use plastic bags handed out to shoppers by UK supermarkets rose for the second year running in 2011. A total of 8bn “thin-gauge” bags were issued in the UK in 2011 – a 5.4% rise on the 7.6bn in 2010 – with every shopper now using an average of almost 11 a month.” Although this may seem like a kind time ago, still today people prefer to get disposable bags for a few pence more, rather than taking their own reusable ones.
- The Algalita Marine Research Foundation found an increase in plastic debris in the Central Pacific Gyre five-fold between 1997 and 2007, where the baseline in 1997 showed plastic pieces outnumbered plankton on the ocean surface 6:1!!
- In a 2008 Pacific Gyre voyage, Algalita researchers caught 672 fish and found hat 35% of them had ingested plastic pieces.
Needles for me to say that after having ingested the fish, we also are contaminated with this plastic inside our bodies. And what you might not know is that because of the process of bioaccumulation, as we get further up the chain, the impacts become stronger.
You should also be aware that fish aren’t the only ones conscerned by this problem. Bellow is a picture of a plastic bag I found on Frinton beach next to one found about to be ingested by a turtle (that confused it with a jelly fish ).