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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 (254 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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