Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Pacific Garbage Patch: "One big unfathomable bummer"

I keep hearing rumors of an island of debris from the Japanese tsunami floating toward California and while I can't really find much hard evidence on that, I did find some interesting things about the Pacific Garbage Patch. This is an area in the Pacific Ocean that is as big as Texas.

You are probably thinking that this would look like a giant island of trash and should be visible on satellite images from Google Earth or something right? Also, you're probably thinking, "why haven't people started cleaning this up, if it's so bad?" Well...Here's an article that explains it well on the blog "Vegan Skeptic". I highly recommend watching the video starting at 1:45 or so.

The Pacific Garden Patch is not this....
(there's a city in the background sheesh)

But, the short answer is that the Pacific Garden Patch is not made up of giant buoys and coke bottles, but tiny pieces of buoys, coke bottles and more. So tiny that you can't really see them unless you trawl the ocean for hours. Plastic breaks down in the sun and surf and some of it gets eaten by fish, some sinks to the bottom and the rest just swirls around endlessly getting smaller and smaller.

So please, please, pleaseeeeee recycle and try to use reusable stuff as much as possible - water bottles, plates, forks, mugs etc.

It's more like this.
(Vast expanses of beautiful blue ocean with the occasional trash ball).
This makes me really want to be a scientist so I can help. Maybe school is in my future somewhere....Not a Marine Scientist though...oceans are scary.

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