The Eastern Garbage Patch

Global warming isn’t the only thing that’s killing this planet. Another controllable and sad process that we are causing is marine trash pollution. What if I told you that there is a literal island of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean that is the size (and I’m not joking here) of Texas? Plastic in the ocean kills 40% of the young Ablatross Chicks in the same region:

The albatross chick jumped to its feet, eyes alert and focused. At 5 months, it stood 18 inches tall and was fully feathered except for the fuzz that fringed its head.

All attitude, the chick straightened up and clacked its beak at a visitor, then rocked back and dangled webbed feet in the air to cool them in the afternoon breeze.

The next afternoon, the chick ignored passersby. The bird was flopped on its belly, its legs splayed awkwardly. Its wings drooped in the hot sun. A few hours later, the chick was dead.

John Klavitter, a wildlife biologist, turned the bird over and cut it open with a knife. Probing its innards with a gloved hand, he pulled out a yellowish sac — its stomach.

Out tumbled a collection of red, blue and orange bottle caps, a black spray nozzle, part of a green comb, a white golf tee and a clump of tiny dark squid beaks ensnared in a tangle of fishing line.

“This is pretty typical,” said Klavitter, who is stationed at the atoll for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We often find cigarette lighters, bucket handles, toothbrushes, syringes, toy soldiers — anything made out of plastic.”

It’s all part of a tide of plastic debris that has spread throughout the world’s oceans, posing a lethal hazard to wildlife, even here, more than 1,000 miles from the nearest city.

And it’s not only the seagulls, it’s other marine animals and birds and it’s almost all caused by discarded plastic items. This is simply sad. According to the same article from the LA Times, 80% of marine trash washes into the ocean from our streets and on the land here. That’s simply litter that we didn’t care to dispose of properly.
The article goes on to say that most all of the plastic that made it into the ocean over the past 50 years is still floating around somewhere. It simply doesn’t compose. So what can we do? First off, I’m not a fan of recycling because it simply doesn’t work in the current context of our economy. No matter how much plastic we recycle, new plastic will still be created. If we were serious about taking care of the planet we would stop making new plastic entirely. All plastic then could be recycled and reused. That to me makes sense.

Also, we should (as best we can) fight the wasteful packaging of items. You know what I’m talking about here. You buy a simple tiny thing and it ends up being delivered in 5 metric tons of plastic for no good reason. Blister packs, boxes, etc. A mess and we can figt it by selectively boycotting stuff.. Surely there is always another version of something. This country does not lack for choice.

But even easier is the fact that we can stop littering. It seems simple, but it is a huge issue. My goodness, I see it all the time. People just dropping their trash to the ground without a care in the world. What is wrong with these people? We have to stop littering, how hard is that? How much of an inconvenience is that?

Man.. To think if we would just have a congress or a president that actually cared about the environment. I’m not having kids, but a lot of people are and the world they are leaving them is one sorry place and the worst part of it all is that its all our doing.

5 thoughts on “The Eastern Garbage Patch

  1. Oh, this is so very sad. You know, I went saw An Inconvenient Truth last week. It was playing at a campus theater and a friend asked me to go. Before reading your review about it in the blog, I would’ve said “ha, ha, yeah, right, I’m not going to an Al gore movie! ha!” but I liked what I read about it and I agree with your point. What possible reason would he have to make this stuff up? What would he stand to gain? Same thing with this story.

    The sorry state of the world is one of the reasons that I’m not having kids either.

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  2. Yea.. I tell people that all the time about AIT. Sure Al gets a bit candidate like, but who cares? The science is totally sound.. what he is preaching is totally true.. we’ve got to get our crap together and damn soon!

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  3. The whole LA times series is incredible. I read through it last week or so. I can’t stand it when people litter like it’s nothing. The thing that pisses me off the most is cigarettes. Just tossed out of windows, while walking, out of a car. Arg! Those filters never decompose and clog up everything.

    And I hate those stupid ass blister packs. Grrr. I always have to get out the razor blade to dangerously slice those things open. And the blister pack opening tool that went on the market a couple years ago – so ironically comes in… a blister pack.

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  4. As much as it hurts to hear about this, what can be done in this consumerist,corporate wasteland? Stores like WAL-MART constantly pump out cheap noxious CHINESE made crap that breaks far too soon and needs to be replaced far too often.Sure everybody needs to make money,but pushing CHINESE made garbage down the throats of the world is not right,it literally gets shoved down the throats of millions of poor animals who are not developed mentally enough to know its garbage,we all know it is,we collectively choose to look the other way because of our own GREED.As long as we turn a blind eye for profit,or worse pure ignorant selfishness,we’ll continue down this tumultuous road. Educating people is a dream,sadly most people just don’t care.

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