La plastica assassina del Pacifico



C’è un mostro nel Pacifico che negli USA viene chiamato “Great Pacific Garbace Patch”.

E’ un vortice gigantesco di plastica e rifiuti, grande due volte il Texas.

La consapevolezza che il mostro esiste non si è ancora tramutata in azioni atte a fermarlo. Eliminare un tale ammasso di rifiuti dall’oceano non è cosa semplice, e intanto gli animali continuano a morire: pesci, uccelli, mammiferi, tutti vittime dell’inquinamento umano. 

Le Nazioni Unite stimano che gli oceani del mondo siano inquinati da 6,4 milioni di tonnellate di rifiuti di plastica – alcuni scienziati, invece, sostengono che si tratti di una cifra ottimistica.

La verità è che nessuno può conoscere l’esatta entità della proliferazione di plastica nell’oceano, ma ci sono cinque aree oceaniche in cui le correnti trasportano prevalentemente il mostro: il Great Pacific Garbage Patch è una delle più studiate.

Le stime più recenti dicono che solo il 5% della plastica buttata viene riciclata. Il 50% finisce nelle discariche. Il resto è “perso nell’ambiente, dove quasi sempre finisce nel mare”.

Osservazioni da vicino del Mostro del Pacifico hanno mostrato come, in quell’ammasso di plastica assassina, vi sia veramente di tutto: dalle bottiglie agli spazzolini da denti, dalle penne ai giocattoli per bambini. Chiunque usi plastica – ossia tutti noi – contribuisce in qualche maniera a questo disastro ambientale.

La plastica è quasi eterna. Si degrada con estrema lentezza. Immette agenti inquinanti nella catena alimentare. Danneggia la fauna e flora marina. Non scompare mai: piuttosto si spezza in frammenti più piccoli, diventando quella che viene chiama “polvere di plastica” e che già ora invade le spiagge delle Hawaii, dell’Australia e della Normandia.

Poi si spezza ulteriormente, diventando microplastica, più sottile di un capello umano, che viene ingurgitata come plancton dalla fauna marina. Una volta raggiunto l’ospite, ossia l’animale, non solo rilascia tossine – ma assorbe altri agenti chimici che sono presenti nell’oceano e che sono noti per provocare il cancro.

Gli scienziati sono soprattutto preoccupati che ora che queste tossine hanno raggiunto la catena alimentare, finiranno per arrivare nei piatti dei consumatori.

Gli uccelli marini sono le altre vittime predilette di questo tipo di inquinamento. I primi colpevoli della morte di questi animali sono i tappi di bottiglia. Il 44% degli uccelli marini è stato ritrovato con plastica nel corpo o addosso.

Ultimamente, dallo tsunami che ha colpito il Giappone, negli oceani sono arrivati dai 5 ai 20 milioni di tonnellate di rifiuti di plastica. Un problema allarmante e difficilissimo da risolvere: è ormai così grande che gli scienziati sono concordi nel dire che ripulire il mare del grande mostro di plastica è quasi impossibile.

Cosa fare:

  • Limitare il consumo di plastica, prediligendo l’utilizzo di materiali biodegradabili, borse riutilizzabili di stoffa o di carta
  • Prediligere l’acquisto da società che usano materiali riciclati
  • Aiutare nella pulizia delle spiagge
  • Condividere queste informazioni creando consapevolezza del problema

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