Drowning In Plastic

Drowning In Plastic

Courtesy of Liz Bonnin, Lord Howe Island, Australia.

Lynton Mortensen completed the first 30 km circumnavigation swim around Lord Howe Island, an unprecedented swim around the Australian island in February. He describes his pioneering swim, “Lord Howe Islands is a most extraordinary place – it is Atlantis meets Galapagos. I have never seen such beauty or as many sharks on a swim – 12-15 Galapagos whalers were circling just below me at one stage. One of the sharks came straight up for a close look face-to-face.  

I teamed up with Dr. Jennifer Lavers, Ian Hutton, Alexander Bond, and crew from the Adrift Lab in Tasmania and the Institute of Marine & Arctic Studies at the University of Tasmania to fundraise for and helped highlight the plight of tragic plastic deaths of the Flesh – Footed Shearwater (mutton bird) fledglings. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the documentary Drowning in Plastic, it is truly confronting. Jennifer is featured in the show. The wave of change is critical and something we all need to embrace before we kill our oceans. It is truly a crisis. There is more plastic in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way – a tragic, damming, and sickening statistic.

Funds go a long way to supporting the selfless work undertaken by these preeminent scientists and contribute to their seabird and plastics research. The Shearwater of Lord Howe is one of the most plastic contaminated birds in the world.

The Shearwater parents mistake plastic for food and they end up tragically.  Think of a tangible contribution by making changes in use of plastics and substituting with environmentally friendly alternatives. 

Below is the documentary Drowning in Plastic where Jennifer and Ian appear at the beginning of the documentary on Lord Howe. They highlight the plastic polluting confronting and killing our bird & marine life.  It is compelling. Some confronting and sobering ocean plastic statistics:

1. By 2050 it is predicted there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life and plants.  

2. There is now more micro plastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. 

3. It takes over 1,000 years for a plastic fork to degrade. 

4. 100% of turtles worldwide are affected by plastic. 

5. Over 90% of seabirds around Lord Howe Island have ingested plastics. The flesh footed Shearwater fledglings have between 100 to 200 and in some cases excess of 200 pieces of plastics ingested in their stomach. 

6. 80% of plastic in the ocean is from storm water run off.

For more information on Drowning in Plastic, visit here.

Drowning in Plastic won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Science and Natural History documentary in 2019 and was nominated for the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the Best Single Documentary and the Grierson Trust British Documentary Award for the Best Science or Natural History Document in 2019.

View the documentary here

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Steven Munatones