Headlines – News – Articles
8th June, 2009

Ocean trash problem ‘far from being solved,’ U.N. says

Press Watch — CNN, June 8, 2009

The world’s oceans are full of trash, causing “tremendous” negative impacts on coastal life and ecology, according to a U.N. report released Monday.

The oceans will continue to fill up with junk discarded from cities and boats without urgent action to address this buildup of marine debris, the United Nations Environment Programme says in a report titled “Marine Litter: A Global Challenge.”

Current efforts to address the problem are not working, and the issue is “far from being solved,” the report says. […]

The ocean litter is a problem for coastal communities, which rely on clean beaches for tourism dollars and to boost quality of life for their residents, the report says. Ocean trash also affects marine life and degrades human health.

Sea turtles, for example, think plastic grocery bags are jellyfish when the bags are floating in the ocean. An untold number of the turtles and other creatures, such as Hawaii’s endangered monk seal, swallow the bags and suffocate, drown or starve, said Holly Bamford, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine debris program.

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2 comments to Ocean trash problem ‘far from being solved,’ U.N. says

  • Carroll Dorrill RT

    Seen some info today(PBS), Regards to an acid, seemed to say dopic acid if not correct, please correct. Research say West cosar polution from river runoff. Cause this sytemic brain deteriation in Monk Seals quickly… It rots their brains.. Is this an acid that is caused internal or formed from stuff in water. Can you please explain in somewhat more detail? Carroll

  • Thanks for your comment.

    Dr. Frances Gulland, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center, was actually referring to the Domoic acid impact on sea lions in this particular case. The acid is produced by toxic algae and accumulates in sea lion prey. The Marine Mammal Center states that: “Exposures to the biotoxin results in brain damage to sea lions, causing them to become lethargic, disoriented, and have seizures that sometimes result in death.”

    The MMC is also involved in treatment of orphaned Hawaiian monk seals — the possible source of the confusion in this case. We are unaware of toxic algae being a recognised threat to the Hawaiian monk seal, although a toxic “red tide” caused by a dinoflagellate bloom was blamed for wiping out two thirds of the Mediterranean monk seal population at Cap Blanc (Mautitania/Western Sahara) in 1997.

    For further information, see:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3517_ocean911.html

    http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/science/top-research-projects/domoic-acid-toxicity.html

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