Captain Moore shared with a rapt audience not only the prevalence of plastic in our oceans, but its impact on the marine food chain, and the evidence for its impact on us our bodies, our hormones and possibly our children.

After the lecture I went home to make dinner for my children with chicken breasts, individually wrapped in plastic, stored on a Styrofoam tray covered in plastic; I added a tomato sauce from a tin lined in plastic (which you don't notice), and cooked it in a Teflon lined pan. It was accompanied by rice poured out of a plastic bag, and vegetables brought home from the store in plastic bags.

The trash was tipped into a plastic garbage bag, and the leftovers stored in plastic containers. And that is just dinner! I could go on; I am sure you all could. But to get back to my original question: why should we care?

We all know that supplies of oil are eventually going to run out, and then we will have to find other ways to fuel our cars and generate our electricity. But plastics are almost all made from oil as well.

In most cases we already have a choice whether to use plastic or not. So starting to notice the plastic in our lives changes our point of view and we can start to ask ourselves: "How much of this is necessary? What do I actually need? Where can I use an alternative?". And we can start to conserve our non-renewable resources.

The second reason to care can be seen if you take a stroll along any of Bermuda's beaches particularly if there is seaweed on the beach, or if you walk along the back of the beach.

A casual glance will reveal the soles of shoes, bits of old rope, plastic bottle tops, cigarette holders, and toothbrushes mixed up with the seaweed or the Bay Grapes If you look carefully you will see multi-coloured fragments their origins undiscoverable but obviously millions of tiny pieces of plastic slowly degraded by the ocean.

Not only does discarded plastic pollute our beaches, but it is a primary part of the diet of seabirds and small fish at the bottom of the food chain, as well as an accidental part of the diet of turtles, dolphins and other large creatures. This is a tragedy! Not only does it hold no nourishment, but often it blocks the digestive tracts of the animals, and kills them.

And it gets worse: plastic readily absorbs pollutants from the environment and therefore as it makes its way up the food chain it poisons the creatures in whom it concentrates including us.

This brings me to my third reason to care about plastic: the chemicals in plastic are not completely inert they have been shown to make their way into our food (hence my concern when I took a good look at our dinner!).

In a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Healthy Perspectives, five San Francisco families were put on a three-day diet of food that hadn't been in contact with plastic. After three days the levels of plastic chemicals in the participants bodies dropped dramatically.

The findings confirm what many experts suspected: Plastic food packaging is a major source of these potentially harmful chemicals, which most Americans harbour in their bodies. These chemicals have been shown to have an impact on human hormones, and many are banned in Europe.

Plastics are made from a non-renewable resource, they are horrible pollutants of marine life and there is evidence that they also have an impact on human health. We need to take this seriously in Bermuda.

We have a choice: many of the disposable plastic items such as single use plastic water bottles, disposable plastic bags, disposable plates, cups, cutlery etc, are completely unnecessary as there are either good plant based alternatives (especially for disposable plates and cups) or we can do without them.

Bring your own bottle Bermuda! Take your own bag to the grocery store! Greenrock was delighted to hear Senator Michael Fahy call for a ban on single use plastic bags we have long advocated this, let's make it happen for our health, for the health of our beautiful ocean and beaches, and to take a step towards not living a plastic life!

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


Where to find Us

Suite 324, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd,
Hamilton HM11, Bermuda

Telephone: 1-441-747-ROCK (7625)
Email: info@greenrock.org
Website: www.greenrock.org