Earlier today, I wrote about a yoga tote that donates money to 5 Gyres, a nonprofit project that tackles plastic marine pollution through exploration, education and action. Serendipitously, I just found a new 20-minute presentation explaining just why 5 Gyres’ work is so important — not just for the fate marine life, but for human health.

That presentation’s the latest from Captain Charles Moore of Algalita Marine Research Foundation, the main nonprofit behind 5 Gyres. In the presentation, Captain Charles outlines the broad problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. We’ve got fish dying by eating plastics they mistake for food — and ocean areas with 36 times more plastic debris than plankton. And of course, the chemicals — like BPA — in our plastics are making their way into the fish we consume. Problems like BPA in fish are just some of the many major human health issues created by our disposable plastic culture.

Captain Charles’ presentation is just one of many given at a recent TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch conference focused on plastic pollution. The day-long event in fact had an entire panel on “Plastic Pollution and Public Health” that examined links between plastic and breast cancer, among other troubling connections.

If you find all that scary plastic news overwhelming, rest assured that this TEDx also offered up solutions. My friend Beth Terry, author of the Fake Plastic Fish blog, was one of the speakers who emphasized the power of personal action. And Beth’s one who walks the plastic-free walk. The average American generates about 100 pounds of plastic waste a year; Beth’s only gone through about two pounds so far this year!

Many of the videos from this TEDx conference are now available online, so browse the agenda and watch the videos to better educate yourself on the issue. Then, like Beth, take action! What will you do to make 2011 a less plasticky year than 2010?

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