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Coelacanth found full of plastic
Life on Earth is estimated to have begun around 3.5 billion years ago.
Coelacanths are large, primitive fish.
They appear in the fossil record dating back almost 400 million years.
They were thought to go extinct around 80 million years ago.
81 years ago a recently deceased specimen was discovered in fish markets in South Africa.
A small population of the species was described living off the Comoros Islands.
21 years ago a new species was found in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Recently another population was found at Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
Coelacanths are found in deepish water (200-700m), hanging around under ledges and in caves.
Very little is still known about these ancient fish.
Humans have been on this planet in their current form for about 200,000 years.
Potato chips began commercial production 110 years ago.
Chip packets were invented about 90 years ago.
They usually consist of layers of aluminium, polyethylene and thermoplastic resin.
PepsiCo (who own Fritos and Lays) developed a 'green bag' for their 'SunChips' 10 years ago.
This bag was made from plant material and able to break down in 14 weeks.
There was a backlash from consumers that the bags were too noisy.
A quieter compostable bag hit the shelves 8 years ago.
Compostable packaging does not seem to be very popular. PepsiCo prefers to direct their consumers to recycling.
Recycling traditional bags is next to impossible.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because today I was confronted by the story of a Lays chip packet found in the gut of a coelacanth, recovered from the depths of the ocean in Indonesia.
This image was recorded in 2011, but did not receive as much attention as the sperm whales or sea birds consuming our trash, coming to light in August of last year.
PepsiCo was upset by the image.
They have committed to 100% biodegradable, compostable or recyclable packaging by 2025.
Forget asteroids and volcanoes, and even aliens. The death of this planet will be from us. We're all consumers. A Chinese probe on the far side of the Moon, New Horizons detailing distant worlds, or Osiris-Rex waving at asteroids will not save us from the mess we are making on Planet Earth. The responsibility lies with all of us.
(Image: Blue Planet Society)