Has it really come to this? Should we just go ahead and declare a Pacific Ocean island a Superfund site. It may just be happening actually.
Tern Island. Ever hear of it? Tern Island, was formed into a runway to serve as a refueling stop for planes enroute to Midway during World War II. The original seawall, runway, and some of the buildings remain. Well, maybe not that sweet.
From the air, Tern Island looks like no more than a gleaming white runway in a dreamy turquoise sea. For those with a little more imagination, the 34-acre island, with buildings on its west end and waves breaking on its east end, looks like an aircraft carrier going at full speed.
But if the island is a ship, it's no military vessel. As the main biological field station of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Tern Island is more of a Noah's Ark. This 34-acre strip of land is the heart and soul of Hawaii's protected marine animals.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a mainland conservation group, has taken the unusual step of pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian islands and parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a Superfund cleanup site.
“We think that plastic pollution is an increasing threat to our nation’s wildlife and particularly the wildlife in the northwest Hawaiian islands where you would hope, as a marine monument, it would have extra protections,” said Emily Jeffers, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.
She said 267 species have been documented to have been affected by plastics, through entanglements or ingestion.
If it gets designated as a superfund site on account of plastic marine debris, it would be a first.
The EPA has now said it will study the situation at Tern Island. The LA Times reports:
“The EPA intends to evaluate potential and observed releases of hazardous substances from Tern Island, including hazardous substances that absorb to plastic marine debris in the surrounding surface water,” EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld wrote in a Nov. 14 letter to the group.
Blumenfeld wrote that the area also “presents a scientifically meaningful opportunity to evaluate the potential toxicological impact of plastic marine debris ingestion on highly sensitive receptors.”
Note: The group also asked the EPA to study the Pacific Garbage Patch, a high concentration of swirling garbage, derelict fishing gear and tiny debris particles sometimes described as a “plastic soup.”
Plastic free times writes:
The use of disposable, single-use plastic items has effectively turned our oceans into plastic soup. While it is true that not all marine garbage is plastic, current peer-reviewed research clearly indicates that plastic is the dominant material littering the ocean, and its proportion consistently varies between 60% and 80% of the total garbage in the ocean.
As important as all that is, Tern Island is just not about sea birds and turtles.
In addition to the plastic pollution found in the ocean, researchers are finding more and more plastic washing up on the shores of remote islands, and in the bellies of dead sea birds and marine mammals. In its August 2006 Pollution Bulletin, the Marine Mammal Commission wrote, "The accumulating debris poses increasingly significant threats to marine mammals, seabirds, turtles, fish, and crustaceans. The threats are straightforward and primarily mechanical. Individual animals may become entangled in loops or openings of floating or submerged debrijs or they may ingest plastic materials. Animals that become entangled may drown, have their ability to catch food or avoid predators impaired, or incur wounds from abrasive or cutting action of attached debris. Ingested plastics may block digestive tracts, damage stomach linings, or lessen feeding drives. The deceptively simple nature of the threat, the perceived abundance of marine life, and the size of the oceans have, until recently, caused resource managers to overlook or dismiss the proliferation of potentially harmful plastic debris as being insignificant. However, developing information suggests that the mechanical effects of these materials affect many marine species in many ocean areas, and that these effects justify recognition of persistent plastic debris as a major form of ocean pollution."
Clearly this is merely one more way in which Capital, using all of us as tools, is going about its endless destruction of our environment...once and for all. It can't be left up to the fish and other marine life to tackle this on their own. We, you, me, all of us have got to realize right now that everything is in the balance now. Global Capital has got to end before THE END. That is not something that is going to just happen, but it is something that has to happen. We need a revolutionary environmental movement that understands that Capital is behind the destruction of the planet, not some schnook who takes his groceries home in a plastic bag, not some poor workers who drives to his job in an old Ford, not the peasant woman in Guatemala who has to use old wood to cook her dinner and a nearby stream to bathe. Yes, of course, all those things hurt, but the schnook, the worker, the woman cannot be THE TARGET of a global revolution and a defense of Earth. Global Capital has got to be the target once and for all. The times for tiny reforms and feel good measures is gone. Maybe "time" is gone, I don't know.The EPA is NOT going to save us, that much is for sure.
Again, what I do know if the multitude is to have a future on this planet, well, the time for talk has past.Some of my friends think I am an alarmist, but I think they have their leftist heads buried in the sand...and on Tern Island that will get you dead.
Tern Island is just some dinky little split of land out in the middle of nowhere, but Turn Island is calling out to us for help, not just for itself, but for the whole dang planet.
The following is from Grist.