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In England, fish dine on plastic and Londoners are sick to their stomachs …

So now it’s the British who are waking up to the scourge of ingested plastic in the very fish they eat.

Astute Path subscriber Cherie called out a morbidly interesting article on takepart.com that the preponderance of flounder and smelt in the River Thames have consumed plastic, and that’s making Londoners sick to their stomachs.

“Researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, discovered that up to 75 percent of the fish from the River Thames they studied had pieces of plastic in their gut. The study tested two types of fish—the common flounder and smelt from Erith and the Isle of Shepey—and found that 75 percent of the flounder contained plastic; one-fifth of the smelt were also contaminated,” wrote take part.com, citing a news article in the Times of London.

This 26 inch redfish was well over the slot and thus exempt from examination, but I remember thinking at the time 'I wonder what's inside her?'

This 26 inch redfish was well over the slot and thus exempt from examination, but I remember thinking at the time ‘I wonder what’s inside her?’

“We’ve now got 125 species of fish living in the river, but, while good progress has been made, it’s a sad fact that millions of tons of sewage still pours into the Thames each year, putting this wildlife at risk,” said Andy Mitchell, a chief executive for the Port of London Authority partner group Tideway. “Our goal is to help clean up the River Thames, but now we’re calling on Londoners to do their bit too, so we all have a river to be truly proud of.”

So it’s happening on both sides of The Pond. Fish, ever the opportunists, clamp down on particulates they perceive as edible. As the Times reports, the flotsam ends up in their gut. This may be a stretch, but I actively wonder about the 20-plus inches of rain this past weekend that is in the process of washing everything and anything into the coastal waters of South Carolina – and beyond. How much of that will be consumed by fish over what period of time. The junk will hardly degrade. Much of it will be there to stay.

Of course, you could find the same findings in the Pacific or any other ocean. It’s a depressing specter that we continue to poison the very source of much of our food.

I’m no amateur necrologist, but there is still the temptation to perform such an examination if and when I’m lucky enough to catch redfish, flounder or speckled trout on one of my next forays to Bowens Island, South Carolina aboard the Miss Emma.

My report would never make the esteemed Times of London, but it damned well will make these pages.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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