Sunday 31 July 2022

Testing positive for plastic, so is there a plastic pandemic?

Besides the Covid pandemic are we also the victims of a plastic pandemic?

It is worrying enough testing positive for Covid-19 and the pandemic has caused so much suffering and deaths around the world, but what if there is another form of pandemic that people do not know about? I am not talking about one that we can be vaccinated against. What if there is a plastic pandemic, not caused by a virus but by nano-plastics in the bloodstream? I was already well aware that micro-plastics and nano-plastics are being found everywhere, and I mean everywhere, so it didn’t surprise me that plastic has been found in human blood. We are consuming plastic in our food and drink and in the air we breathe. Most of this plastic we cannot see and are unaware of. The scale of this is unknown but it is happening increasingly, and now there are people who have tested positive for plastic. I was recently at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, and there were two guest speakers there who are some of the first people in the world who have gone through the alarming experience of finding they test positive for plastic in their bloodstream. Jo Royle, founder of Common Seas was one of them and Ben Jack, programme director for Common Seas was the other. They know that they are living with plastic circulating in their bodies. Scientists testing for plastic have discovered that as many as 77% of those tested were found to have the material in their blood. It is unknown as to what effect plastic in our bloodstreams can cause. Will the material lodge in organs and tissues, will this cause harm, how will the body attempt to remove the plastic, are some of the questions that spring to mind. Do plastic particles in the blood lead to blood clots? Of course, the main problem is that plastic was made to last forever, it was made so it doesn’t decompose. What it does do is it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, and this is how nano-plastics are eventually formed. The planet has been contaminated by them. Dust fine plastic can be blown in the wind, carried in raindrops, end up on mountain tops and in the ice in polar regions. Plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to life on this planet. Big pieces get swallowed by animals on land and at sea and can kill the unfortunate creatures, other animals die after getting trapped and entangled in plastic netting, but what harm micro and nano-plastics currently do, or in the long term, we cannot presently say. It is an international problem and we all need to take personal action in any way we can to help tackle the problem of plastic pollution. I took action by writing the song “Where Does All The Plastic Go?” and the book Saving Mother Ocean.

In my song I sing: “Plastic kills the turtles and is eaten by the fish, plastic is in the food chain and the dinner on your dish. Where does all the plastic go, into the sea, into the sea, how did it get there, who threw it away, was it you or was it me?”

Sunday 24 July 2022

Aquaman star Jason Momoa in UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon

 Aquaman star Jason Momoa at UN Ocean Conference in Portugal

By an amazing coincidence, it almost seemed like a full page story in The Portugal News last year, had predicted that Aquaman Star, Jason Momoa, would attend the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. On 26 June, 2002, the actor had joined Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and many youth activists, on Carcavelos Beach, to kick off the Ocean Conference that would take place for the following week in nearby Lisbon. On 4 September, 2021, an article by Jake Cleaver in the Portugal News was entitled Poseidon, Neptune and Aquaman “Stand by me”. The story was about my song “Where Does All the Plastic Go?”, my book, Saving Mother Ocean, and my idea for “Ocean Aid” concerts.

I had mentioned Aquaman in a chapter in my book, Cleaver had picked up on this for the title of his piece about me, and now, the following year, the star of the movie about this superhero was really in Portugal to take part in an event to save the oceans. It seemed like magic! As it happened, I went along to the conference too, though sadly didn’t get a chance to meet Momoa because I was there on the wrong days. Nevertheless I think it is amazing how all this came about, and am delighted to know that someone as high profile as he is, attended the event and is speaking out about the importance of saving the seas. The American actor and activist is now the UNEP Ambassador for Life Underwater, and it turns out that he had wanted to be a marine biologist before becoming the movie-star he is today. It is also an incredible coincidence that I live near Lisbon, and my passion and focus has been to do what I can to raise awareness about saving the seas. Portugal is such a great place for events like this conference because there are so many people in this country, who are taking action to look after the ocean and to spread the word about dangers to the marine environment. Last year I took part in the COOL 21 event organised by Oceano Azul, and held outside the Lisbon Oceanarium. I gave a brief talk, sold some of my books, and performed my song “Where Does All The Plastic Go?”

There were very many people, who are concerned about the oceans, at this event too. One of them was Andreas Noe, aka “The Trash Traveller.” He has been doing all he can to save the marine environment, and cycled around the coast of Portugal on “the Butt Hike,” collecting over 1,000,000 cigarette butts, a terrible source of plastic pollution. I took a selfie in front of a display of thousands of these discarded butts.

Taking action comes in so many different ways but the more of us that become active the better. We really do need to save the ocean because life on this planet depends on it, and that life includes us! That is why I use the term “Mother Ocean.” She is the source of life on Earth! Let’s take care of our Mother!