mare-mundi Project: No more Plastic!

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Dr. Robert Hofrichter
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mare-mundi Project: No more Plastic!

Beitrag von Dr. Robert Hofrichter » 02 Dez 2010 08:49

mare-mundi Project: No more Plastic!

Plastic has become an indispensable material in our modern life. It is part of our daily life from the moment of birth: in the car, at the office, when we dine or shop - virtually everywhere. Unfortunately we find plastic also where we don’t want to see it - in our oceans, on the shores, on the remotest of islands and even in the food chain. So far no one knows the long-term effects to our health. With an elaborated campaign the environmental organization mare-mundi.eu sets out to supply intelligible information and more transparency.

Plastic waste has become a dramatic problem for the marine ecosystem, forming spectacular garbage gyres in our oceans. It is estimated that the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific carries up to 100 million tons of plastic waste and that there are four more gyres of this kind in the oceans of the world. Supplies don’t run out - the yearly worldwide production of plastic will exceed 300 million tons in 2010. According to the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP 6,4 million tons thereof end up in the sea, and this number is rising annually.

Biodiversity at high risk
The effects are devastating to animals: according to Kristina Gjerde of the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN a million of seabirds, 100.000 marine mammals and innumerable fish die from plastic pollution every year. As per US Marine Mammal Commission 136 marine species are known to get entangled in garbage regularly, including six species of sea turtles, 51 different kinds of seabirds and 32 species of marine mammals (UNEP 2009a). This means that plastic waste in our oceans leads to a loss in biodiversity .

Imminent danger to animals and humans
Marine animals are not only endangered by abandoned fishing nets, plastic bags and other plastic objects, there is a creeping threat to all marine life, unwatched and not adequately addressed till now: the poisoning of the marine environment and the food chain by pollutants existing in, or transported by, plastic. During the last years it was particularly bispenol A, a monomeric element i.e. of polycarbonate or PVC, that has been subject to criticism. It is under suspicion to massively irritate the hormone system and even to have a mutagenic impact1.
Plastics consist of up to 80% of plasticizers like for example phthalates, which are easily set free and cannot only cause infertility but also premature puberty in piiieps as well as testicle cancer or feminization in men.

Poisonous concoction
Plastics are not the only source of pollutants. As Hideshige Tanaka of Tokio University and Richard Thompson of Plymouth University proved,
so-called persistant organic pollutants or POP’s (including highly toxic substances like DDT or PCB) settle on the surface of microplastics. Measurements of these microplastics proved that the concentration of POP’s is millionfold compared to the surrounding sea water1. These plastic particles are eaten and stored by marine organisms like food. Via the food chain the pollutants are exponentiated, thus supplying the highest concentration to animals and humans on top of the food chain.

mare-mundi Campaign
Hard to believe, but at this stage there are only very few studies proving if and how many pollutants have made their way inside the bodies of marine animals and humans. This is where the environmental organization for the conservation of the sea, mare-mundi, comes into play to close this information gap. In a world-spanning campaign marine animals and sea birds will be tested for these pollutants, proving that - as is a valid apprehension - no region of our planet is free of this problem. At the same time this campaign serves to draw public attention to this subject, showing that plastic waste in the sea is more than just an aesthetic problem.

We ask for broad support from the public for this project, be it from experts, in-kind benefits or from partnering laboratories conducting analyses. Any kind of help is highly appreciated!

For information concerning the mare-mundi-project „Kein Plastik Meer!“ (Translat. „No more plastic!“) please refer to our experts:
Dr. Robert Hofrichter, Projektleiter (office@mare-mundi.eu)
Matthias Ziert, Projektkoordination (m.ziert@mare-mundi.eu)
Dr. Christian Voll, medizinischer Berater (christian.voll@mare-mundi.eu)

mare-mundi.eu gemeinnützige GmbH - Gesellschaft für Meeresschutz www.mare-mundi.eu
HRB 169846 (Handelsregister B des Amtsgerichts München)
mare-mundi.eu - Verein zur Förderung der Wissenschaft am Mittelmeer www.mare-mundi.eu
(registriert bei der Bundespolizeidirektion Salzburg)
RSEC - Red Sea Environmental Centre www.redsea-ec.org
Forschungs-, Ausbildungs- und Umweltschutzinstitut am Roten Meer (als Verein registriert bei der Bundespolizeidirektion Salzburg)

Office address:
Schwarzstraße 33, A-5020 Salzburg
T. & Fax: 0043 (0)662 874 098
mobil: 0043 (0)664 739 48 050
Email: mittelmeer@aon.at, office@mare-mundi.eu
Secretary: Petra Hillinger petra.hillinger@mare-mundi.eu

Public relations: respontour.net
T. : 0043 (0)2822 53861
Mobil: 0043(0)664 912 7629
Susanna Hagen . susanna.hagen@mare-mundi.eu
Die ... Begeisterung, die wir beim Betrachten der Natur empfinden, ist eine Erinnerung an die Zeit, da wir Tiere, Bäume, Blumen und Erde waren ... das Wissen um unser Einssein mit allem, was die Zeit vor uns verborgen hält. Leo N. Tolstoi

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