Founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation Explains Devastating Effects on Sea Life of Littering
Posted Jan 20 2010 7:00am
"The ocean is downhill from everywhere. Only we humans make waste that
nature cannot digest.”
– Captain Charles Moore
Founder, Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Since most forms of plastic are manufactured from petroleum, it is easy to
realize that recycling is an excellent way to fight global warming. However,
there is another reason of equal environmental importance. Littering is very
harmful to marine life and littering plastics is among the worst things we can
do to the seas.
It is a normal part of the circle of life for creatures of the sea to feed
upon other living things in their surroundings. Put another way, in nature,
creatures do not import their food from distant places. Instead, they establish
a natural equilibrium with their environment. They have one thing in common with
humans, though. They are incapable of recognizing all forms of poison.
That’s why the damage to seas caused by littering plastics is so particularly
insidious. As Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation
explains in his brilliant documentaries, presentations and writings, the
petroleum-derived plastics which are produced in the billions of tons every year
to give us disposable bottles and shopping bags degrade neither graciously nor
quickly in nature. Hence, when oceanic currents such as the [link1]North Pacific
Gyre[/link1] concentrate our litter in otherwise pristine natural areas,
environmental damage is amplified.
For this reason, I exhort you to reduce your consumption of plastic bottles
and shopping bags, recycling what you can and disposing carefully what you
cannot. Then, if you think that I’m exaggerating the effects on nature of our
carelessness in the use and disposal of petroleum-derived plastics, subscribe to
Captain Moore’s newsletter at
If you need additional encouragement to use less and recycle more, watch his
stupefying video presentation to TED around this time last year.
It’s true that all living things, including people, are what they eat.
Tragically, we are causing many forms of marine life to become the garbage we
Disclosure of consideration: The opinions expressed in this
blog post are my own. They were not influenced by any outside party. Moreover, I
have no financial interest in Algalita Marine Research Foundation