The extent to which we are harming the planet with plastic waste is somewhat known. You could say we know about the issue but do not understand the severity. A lot of us know, for example, that a giant plastic island exists in the middle of the ocean. Formed by the twin forces of tectonic plate movements and water pressure, it has just so happened that millions of plastic bottles and caps have collected in the same spot in the ocean.
As plastic does not rust, it is only going to be removed once we have sophisticated technology and political will to go out and collect the plastic so that we can melt it down and re-use it.
Other surprising incidents in the news offer wake-up calls to the severity of the issue. Recently a fisherman was out on the water off the coast of Costa Rica when he made a surprising discovery. The fisherman caught a Mahi Mahi, which those of us who know about marine life can tell you is also known as a dolphinfish. However, nothing was usual about the contents he found in the stomach of this poor fish.
The fisherman was going about regular cleaning of the fish when he was shocked to find tons of plastic in its belly. He was so shocked at this site that he decided to film it and show everyone just how real the issue of plastic waste is for us now.
The fisherman suspected something was wrong with the fish right when he caught it and brought it on board. It was moving very strangely and did not have the same kind of energy Mahi Mahi are known for. Once it was dead he began investigating to see if the fish had some real health problems. It sure did.
Check out the video below for the stomach-churning find
The fisherman found all kinds of bottles, lids, and jars in the large intestine of the dolphinfish. There were shards of plastic cups, a comb, cigarettes, and so much other garbage that it really did shock the fisherman. It might be expected to find one or two pieces of plastic in the belly of a fish once and a while – but to find so much of it in one stomach is really sad. It is a sign that we have been so ignorant about the impact of plastic for so long that we cannot even imagine a solution now that the problem has become so huge.
The footage was met with outrage from local fisherman and environmentalists. Both groups were unified in their distaste for the video because it showed how much plastic there really is in the sea. Unfortunately, a lot of fish are not smart enough to differentiate plastic from what they regularly eat, says one environmentalist. This is the main reason why one fish would have so much plastic in their stomach.
All we can do is choose to boycott all plastic items in our day-to-day lives. This will limit the potential for more serious damage being done to our waters.