1,700 miles of floating garbage – our garbage

Steven Hodson - Author

Oct. 10 2016, Updated 6:09 a.m. ET

We live in a throw-away society. Don’t want it anymore throw it away – anywhere. Finished that bottle of water just toss the bottle to the curb after all no-one gives a shit anyway. The problem is that all that thrown away plastic is collecting in places we don’t see everyday and causing an ecological disaster.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of those collections of garbage but because it is somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean no-one cares. Even the word patch is a misnomer given that this one section of floating garbage covers some 1,700 miles.

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Researchers from Project Kaisei and the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) recently journeyed through the entire area collecting samples as they went. The expedition included researchers, sailors, journalists and government officials and lasted four weeks. As for the size of the patch – the 1,700 miles is only the distance that the expedition travelled before having to return, members of the research teams say it is much larger than that they just didn’t have enough time to map it all.

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Mary Crowley, Project Kaisei co-founder, said: “More than 30 years ago, on my first trip to the North Pacific Gyre I found a few glass ball fishing floats, one net and there were, in four days, perhaps two pieces of floating plastic.

“Returning now with Project Kaisei .. the marine debris situation shows a startling change in this same area. In 30 minutes one easily can count up to 400 pieces of plastic on the sea’s surface.”

The team found a variety of invertebrates living in the debris, including crabs, sea anemones, barnacles, sponges and algae, sparking fears that the plastic may aid the spread of invasive species.

Source: BBC – Voyage confirms plastic pollution

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images via Wikipedia and Inhabitat


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