Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Indonesia Blog: Plastics

This post is written by Indonesia Expedition team leader Dr. Greg Stone. He is a Senior Vice President and Overseer of the New England Aquarium and Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist for Oceans at Conservation International (CI).

At first I thought it was a jelly fish, then, as I swam closer, I realized it was a plastic bag.

(Photo: Greg Stone)

It is disappointing to see the amount of floating plastic here, such a remote part of the world's oceans. We have plastic bags floating all around us at times during dives. This results from ocean dumping of trash. Plastic is not necessarily a bad substance—there are a lot of good uses for plastics: chairs, appliances, car fenders, and (my personal favorites) dive gear and submarine pressure spheres, but single use plastic is a problem. That is the plastic that is used in the form of a bag, bottle or other item that is used once and then discarded.

 Another example of plastics photographed at the Spoon seamount (Photo: Greg Stone)

Plastic lasts for thousands of years, unless it is recycled or reused. Every piece of plastic that has ever been made (since its 1909 invention) still exists either in the atmosphere, ocean or on land—most is in the ocean. Large concentrations of plastic in the ocean, like in the central pacific gyre [more info on that here], are catching the attention of the public now and raising this issue to a higher level. Please reuse, recycle and reduce the amount of plastic in your life; by doing that you will help ocean conservation. For more information, I recommend you visit the Plastic Pollution Coalition website.

-Greg Stone


  1. Trágico isso, Não sei como conseguem, Um dia quero i pro fundo do maar conhecer tudinho de pertoo, Achoo supeer legaal :)
    Seempre quiis (é meu sonho)
    ++ eu não acho serto que joguem lixo por aii :(

  2. I support for reuse and recyle. too bad to see this scene in the bottom of the ocean.

  3. This is something we need to do something about. That stuff doesn't belong there, and every contributing factor needs to be identified and stopped.

    All of that stuff can be recycled, and it should be. There is no reason for even one scrap of plastic to wind up in the ocean, or even a landfill for that matter.

    It can all be recycled, and that has many layers of energy savings. The recycling process itself uses far less energy than refining virgin resins. On top of that, the oil that goes into resin production is useful in many other ways.

    We have made enough plastics already. It's time to close the recycling circle and never let this happen again.