[Written by environmental charity Greenrock]
How fortunate we are that the powerful Hurricane Florence took a more Westerly route on its recent course.
While our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storm on the US mainland, Hurricane Florence can serve as a good reminder of the importance of ocean health, and reducing our impact on oceans. It is well established that warming global temperatures give rise to stronger and larger hurricanes, which in many cases lead to other natural catastrophic events, such as flooding.
One of the externalities of Hurricane Florence on our shores, aside from erosion, is the arrival of masses of plastic waste that has washed up on local beaches.
Plastic waste in the ocean is something that has made the news a lot lately – and with good reason. One story described Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific which is untouched, though far from pristine.
When they arrived at Henderson, marine scientists found it to have the highest density of human-made debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic. The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic extent of marine plastic pollution.
In Bermuda, even without the passing of a major storm, it’s easy to see evidence of the plastics pollution issue as each high-tide delivers more and more plastics on our coastline in all shapes, sizes and colours.
Our regular and conscientious effort to clean our coastlines has a huge and positive local impact. KBB’s coastal clean-ups, corporate clean-ups, the newly implemented marina strainers [at RHADC and Hamilton Princess, for example], our Parks Department teams and others keep our coastlines from turning into permanent debris fields.