Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fish, Plastic & Armadillos

With Sun now moving through fishy zodiac sign Pisces, I'll remain in fishy mode too with a link to an article from the BBC magazine:

Will there be more fish or plastic in the sea in 2050?
By Leo Hornak
"A recent claim that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 was intended to highlight a pollution crisis in the oceans. The problem really does exist, but do the figures hold water, or is there something fishy going on?"

Seems it's possible there'll be more of both, bearing in mind that plastic doesn't decay quickly - if at all, and fish populations could possibly increase - though dead fish do eventually decay, and do so fairly quickly, I'd guess. Numbers aside, contamination will continue for centuries, should humans survive long enough to monitor such things.

Another interesting piece, this one relates to wildlife of the past, jumbo-sized relatives of today's armadillos. I've been fascinated by armadillos ever since seeing an illustration of one in an old book sometime in my early childhood in the UK, where armadillos are never seen. Now I've seen a real one - just one live one, but sadly many dead ones, on the highway, especially in the morning hours. Their armour coat amazes me still. Anyway, this article is about an ancestor of theirs.
Monstrous fossils 'were armadillos', says DNA evidence


mike said...

The quantity of plastic in our oceans and the present-future, fish population numbers are really two different topics. Aquatic creatures are under assault by a myriad factors: pollution (plastic being only one source), over-fishing (including catch everything in miles-long trawlers and discard the dead, unwanted), global warming (with too many effects to mention), etc. As human population increases, the harvest from the oceans will increase, as will the contaminates put into our oceans.

Plastic is bad news, but micro-plastics has become a new buzz-word. One larger piece of plastic can break-down into too-numerous-to-count microscopic pieces with deleterious effects on organisms ingesting them, primarily intestinal blockage. Recently, micro-beads in toothpaste to brighten-whiten teeth have been found embedded in the fine cilia of gills, drastically reducing the breathing efficiency. Even dead birds are now being found on beaches, the decayed bodies having plastic pieces where the stomach was. Plastic on its own is awful, but plastics contain chemicals, which can also leach once into an organism's intestines.

I live several blocks from the Corpus Christi Bay and I often ride my bicycle along the bayfront. It's disgusting the amount of plastic bottles, styrofoam cups-containers, cigarette butts, bags, etc that floats and clusters along the shore. All of our storm drains go directly into the bay without filtration. All of our inland areas with water draining (storm drains and open fields) into the Nueces River (several thousand square miles) has their debris deposited into the bay. This includes any animal feces, herbicide, insecticide, and fertilizer chemicals used on yards and agriculture. We now have annual red tide disease of our bays along the Gulf coast that lasts for months with major fish-kills...and does the air ever stink from both the kill and the red tide.

1.84 million gallons of detergent oil-dispersant was used on the BP Gulf coast oil well disaster!!! I can't remember how many deep-water oil wells in the Gulf are leaking oil and could eventually rupture, and the majority have no known owners, or the owners went out of business and are not responsible.

We humans are on ominous track to destroy this planet and all creatures great and small. As I've said before, it's probably best that humans forfeit our existence here sooner rather than later. The total, living Earth is more important than we are.

mike (again) said...

Off - Twilight, I made a comment on your post of Patrick Hughes, but the electrons seem to have lost their way. I came across this brief video by accident and it provides the needed angle-view to make me fully appreciate his work:


Twilight said...

mike ~
mike ~ We're on a road to ruin if nothing comes along to stop us in our tracks. We've done enough damage to last for many centuries already. Still, the wee armadillo has survived in a different form from its huge ancestor, maybe we humans will manage something similar, thousands of years hence, hopefully humans with less agile brains will develop, so that we will not do the same things all over again. The new model will likely have plastic ears and toes. ;-)

(again) ~ Thanks for the Patrick Hughes comment with link (good one!) - I've copied it to the appropriate post now. Blogger must have been acting up...again.

Anonymous said...

Only last night PRI had a story about plastic filth in Rio's waters.


I think the graphic examples of birds with plastic-stuffed innards you've seen, mike, are probably those taken at Midway Atoll, though, they are now found worldwide.


I am unaware of any other living creature besides 'Man' that fouls its own nest in such a manner; the phrase 'wanton disregard' comes to mind....

Yes, Annie, Major flaw, all right: it seems as though humans can't inherit emotional intelligence: we all just have to make our own mistakes. ;P

I had FB friends who rehabbed opossums and armadillos - hilarious and fascinating animals. I remember a museum downunder which had gigantic life-sized models of prehistoric kangaroos, wallabies, emus and cassowaries - Yikes! The monster wombat was indescribably funny and terrifying at the same time. Yes, the little armadillos are still with us - and I just heard the Monarch butterfly count in Mexico upturned this year, so all is not lost. Of course, the true survivors are the crocodiles and cockroaches. Speaking of size, in my father's homeland they call the latter 'mahogany birds'.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ thanks for your thoughts on this sad topic.
LOL - "mahogany birds" eh? I remember, during our many vacations in the Canary Islands, off Africa's west coast, frequently seeing huge cockroaches scampering along the sea-front walkways. A friend of ours who lived on the Island used to joke that if a person were to step on a cockroach there they'd end up in the next town. ;-)