The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has released a disturbing study detailing the threat of plastic pollution in the ocean, and its impact on seabirds. Plastic trash is found in 90 percent of seabirds. The rate is growing steadily as global production of plastics increases.
According to the Academy, the “Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing.”
The areas of impact facing the greatest threats are the southern boundary of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.
Plastic found inside birds includes bottle caps, plastic shopping bags, and tiny pieces the size of rice that have been broken down by the sun and waves.
After reading the study’s abstract, Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters commented on the health impact facing the seabirds. “Living along the coast of South Florida, I have seen the small plastic pieces of plastic that wash up into our mangroves and our shoreline,” says Sheeder. “The wildlife rescue groups that we support tell us sharp-edged plastic pieces can kills birds by punching holes in their internal organs. Some seabirds eat so much plastic, there is little room in their stomachs for food. Lack of food affects their body weight and jeopardizes their health.”
Sheeder echoes the concerns of scientists and environmentalists: “At current levels, virtually every seabird will be consuming plastic by 2050. If we don’t address this issue, we are looking at a major contributing factor to the possible extinction of many seabird species. We can’t let that happen.”
Sheeder feels her yachting industry can do more in terms of effective waste management to reduce the threat. “Almost all of the yachts we represent for private yacht charter vacations have the onboard capability to generate fresh drinking water. Now, when our clients request plastic bottled water to be placed onboard prior to their charter, we encourage them to forgo plastic and drink the yacht’s purified water.”
In lieu of plastic water bottles, Sheeder even offers her clients complimentary reusable beverage containers.
Sheeder is confident the tide can be turned. “While the report by the National Academy of Sciences paints a grim future, it also points out that effective waste management can reduce the threat. Protecting our future means preserving the marine environment and promoting responsibility onboard our yachts, in the seas, and along our shores.”
Sheeder further comments, “Everyone can do something. Even just one thing every day. It’s not hard to take that extra moment to help another. Sadly, so many prefer just to stick their heads in the sand rather than being role models and making a difference.”
She encourages others to:
Calling all eco heroes! Comment on this post and include your email address, and we will contact you to send you your own customized totebag so that you can be an #ecohero with us!
This entry was posted in News Educational and tagged eco-friendly, Giftivism and Generosity, yacht charter, Gratitude, Charity, Destinations, Conservation Efforts, Jana Sheeder, Make A Difference, 1800yachtcharters, wildlife, protect the environment, protect marine life, random acts of kindness, beach cleanups, Be the ChangePosted on
We took this photo during the Yachts Miami Beach Boat Show. We were inspecting several private luxury yacht charter vessels docked at the Deep Harbour Island Gardens marina, near downtown Miami. As we walked along the docks, I noticed our company President, Jana Sheeder, often pausing, bending down, picking up something, and putting it in her “Eco-Hero” tote bag. I asked Jana what she was picking up, and she paused and poured a few of the contents of her bag onto a locker box on the dock. “Take a look,” she sighed. “This debris can easily end up in the water where it becomes part of the ocean pollution problem, as well as a threat to birds and marine life.”
So, I snapped the photo you see above…
When I look at this photo, I see beautiful superyachts that serve as a gateway to experience the wonders of our oceans. I see a segment of the tourism industry – private luxury yacht charter – that generates millions of dollars of revenue annually. I see a support network of thousands of crewmembers, dockhands, marina workers, and maintenance and repair staff – all supporting their families from a livelihood that is inextricably dependent upon healthy oceans.
For me, the trash in the foreground of the photo is a harsh reminder that the refuse we see floating in marinas and along the seawalls and walkways is a direct threat to the health of our waterways, and therefore, a threat to our own livelihood.
As you read this blog, I can guess what some of you are thinking – “I’m not part of the problem – I would never throw trash in the water.” Good intention, ladies and gents, but you or someone you know might still be directly responsible for pollution in our waterways.
It’s a common misconception that most trash comes from people throwing things directly into the water…
“Believe it or not, much to the trash in our waterways comes from litter thrown out of cars, litter that blows from surrounding areas into the waterways, illegal dumping, and this item really irks me – cigarettes left on the ground,” says Jana. “During a big rainstorm, all that junk ends up in the watershed, and some of it eventually makes its way down to the bays, harbors, marinas, beaches, and worse – onto our fragile coral reefs and into the stomachs of marine life (like fish and turtles) and shorebirds.”
Efforts are underway to rid our waterways of trash. In Baltimore, Maryland, two (rather cute) trash wheels are pulling debris from the harbor before it flows into Chesapeake Bay. “Mr. Trash Wheel” (male) and “Professor Trash Wheel” (female with eyelashes) are solar and hydro-powered trash interceptors in place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Over a million pounds of trash has been pulled out of the water by Mr. Trash Wheel since it was installed in May 2014 (Professor Trash Wheel was installed in December 2016).
John Kellett (a true ECO-HERO!) invented the trash wheels and tracks the debris collected. Since May 2014, when Mr Trash Wheel went operational, almost nine million cigarette butts and over 300,000 plastic bags have been collected. Additionally, Mr. Trash Wheel picks up an average of 14,000 Styrofoam containers a month – second only to cigarettes.
Kellett echoes Jana’s thoughts that the problem starts on shore. “I thought we were being ambitious with the harbor, but now people are talking about cleaning up the ocean,” Kellett said. “But I think the most effective solution is to get the trash before it gets there.”
No matter where you live, you CAN make a difference and help protect our natural resources. Let’s review some simple steps we can all take:
What do I hope will happen? I look forward to the day that Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel are forced to take days off because there is no debris for them to clean up!
If you are ready to make a difference, text HERO to 305-720-7245 and we’ll send you an “Eco-Hero” tote bag – just like the ones Jana carries with her and also uses at boat shows. It’s Jana’s gift to you – from Jana and our team at 1-800 Yacht Charters!
This entry was posted in News Educational and tagged Yacht Shows, Make A Difference, random acts of kindness, Be the Change, solar, eco-hero, myth busting, protect the ocean, eco-tote, RAK, Yachts Miami Beach Show, ocean plastic, eco-totes, tourism, trash in marinas, responsibility, be a role model, John Kellett, female trash wheel, styrofoam, cigarette butts, fishing line, hydro-powered, Baltimore, Maryland, say no to plastic bags, feel the churn, Mr. Trash Wheel, Professor Trash Wheel, free gift, karma, good karmaPosted on