Baker McKenzie and ENGIE collaborate to raise awareness about the impact of plastic in our oceans.

In the world, we produce more than 300 million tons of plastic per year, did you know that of that total amount, 8 million tons end up in our oceans?

Our Oceans and Plastic Pollution

There are five main ocean currents, also known as ‘gyres’ which are created by the Earth’s rotation and the resulting predominant winds. These are: North & South Pacific, North & South Atlantic and Indian.

80% of ocean waste originates from land. This waste travels to the center of the gyre where it collects. Scientists estimate that it takes about 20 years for waste to reach the center of the ocean.

Plastic waste pieces break up into much smaller bits as they are eroded by sunlight, salt water, currents and waves. More than 50% of marine debris, including plastic, will sink.

The Food Chain and Plastics

Water born chemicals, from decades of industry and agriculture attract to plastic like a magnet. When these plastics mix with plankton, they are eaten by fish and become part of the food chain.

Once ingested by fish, these toxins are released from the plastic fragments and are carried in the bloodstream and stored in the fatty tissues of the fish. We then eat these fish, causing the toxins to enter our bodies. These toxins have been linked with cancer, autoimmune disease, cognitive problems, infertility and endocrine disruption.

Birds are also affected by this problem. They will eat what they see that is bright and reflective. Plastic pieces look like fish or squid to the parent birds who feed these materials to their young. The record number of pieces of plastic found in one 90-day old seabird chick is 276 pieces = 15% of that bird’s body mass.

What can we do?

Our plastic problems can be addressed with a combination of solutions and all need to be incorporated to bring needed change. Long term solutions work to remove petrol-plastic and their by-products from the environment and bridge solutions work at removing only some petrol-plastic products.

There are other types of solutions that have to do with our consumption habits. To make a real change from this place, the first thing is to inform and sensitize ourselves on the subject.

For this reason Baker McKenzie collaborated with the Plastic Oceans Foundation to join efforts to disseminate the documentary A Plastic Ocean. We also invite ENGIE to participate, because we know that, like our firm, they have a strong commitment to caring for the environment.

This collaboration aims to raise awareness about the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans and to convey to our collaborators the importance of reducing the consumption of this material.

What is the documentary about?

  • It address the impact of plastic on our oceans and therefore on our lives.
  • It has been called the most important film of our time by the British scientist Sir David Attenborough.
  • It was created by the former producer of the BBC Natural History Unit, Jo Ruxton, the journalist Craig Leeson, the diving champion Tanya Streeter and a team of marine scientists.

Reference: Plastic Oceans Foundation

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