When The Sea Floor Is Covered With Litter

When The Sea Floor Is Covered With Litter

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Photo by Kelvin Trautman.

I know a shark encounter is frightening; I had that happen to me a few times in Hawaii.

I know jellyfish stings hurt; I had venom enter my system numerous times in Hawaii, Mexico, South Pacific, Japan, California and the Caribbean Sea.

But nothing scares me like trash and plastic bags in the ocean. I can deal with sharks and jellyfish; the ocean is their home; they are the denizens of the deep.

But trash and plastic bags in the ocean always seem to come up unexpectedly and surprise me. My hand hits a floating bag and is engulfed in plastic, causing my heart rate to spike. The number of these plastic encounters far exceeds that of shark or jellyfish encounters over the nearly 50 years I have been swimming in the world’s oceans.

I always wonder how great it must have been to swim in the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean hundreds of years ago before mankind polluted it with his refuse, unwanted discards, and manmade poisons.

Lewis Pugh speaks of this pollution disaster much more eloquently in an opinion piece published by the New York Times here.

In his article that describes his Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For One Reason, push for expanded Marine Protected Areas, Pugh writes, “This summer, I swam long distances in the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Seas. The longest swim was 37 miles and took me two days….

…I saw no sharks, no whales, no dolphins. I saw no fish longer than 11 inches. The larger ones had all been fished out…

…When I swam in the Aegean, the sea floor was covered with litter; I saw tires and plastic bags, bottles, cans, shoes and clothing
…read more here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones