Usually when a person bites into a steaming hot lobster during a local shore dinner, they probably aren’t thinking about plastic. But that large metal pot of boiling water has acted as a catalyst to release toxins into all of that delicious meat. But why am I talking about plastics? Some plastics can absorb incredible amounts of toxins and carcinogens in the ocean. These plastics are then mistakenly consumed by fish, birds, crustaceans, and bivalves. The plastics do not get digested, but the toxins enter the bloodstream. The same science applies when humans consume affected seafood. These plastics come from people who litter on beaches, waterways and boats. All of that plastic breaks down into infinitely smaller pieces, meaning smaller and smaller creatures end up with some in their system.
So what can we do to prevent this health issue from growing larger? I recently went to the salt marshes at Popham State Park on Earth Day and I collected several large trash bags full of plastics. By participating in clean up days on beaches and waterways in our community, we can help reduce our local contribution to a global environmental issue too. We need to stop littering plastic waste when we live so close to the ocean.