Reading an article on Planet Green reminded me of a line from message in a bottle by the Police “100 million castaways looking for a home” it is kind of how the garbage patch on the Pacific looks right now… If only we could send all of it back to the sources wonder how many of us would get a parcel from the Oceans!! When any trash gets into the rain gutter flows into the waterways ending up in the seas, or what every vacationer on the beach thinks is ok to leave behind on the beach, it all finds its way into our oceans.
Source of Photograph by Fabi Fliervoet Creative Commons Attribution
As the article in Planet Green says “People create, consume, and carelessly toss plastics and the litter ends up in the water ways. As the plastic reaches the shoreline, currents carry it out into the ocean and a convergence of currents swirl the plastics into one general area.”
In the Oceans plastic bags are confused by turtles and fish as jelly fish or other food and get consumed, there have been many instances where sea life has been found with plastic inside their gut causing their death. The non-biodegradable trash in the Oceans is very much like the stuff in the landfills: in the land fill it stays for 10’s of hundreds of years with out moving unless it is moved whereas in the Oceans it stays for relatively the same amount of time but moving around with the Ocean currents.
The Effect on the marine environment is unmistakable, we have all heard about the Great Pacific patch of garbage which is actually the size of Texas and growing!, but it is not really the only one. There are 5 such patches all across the world check the picture below to see where they are.
The Picture above courtesy Wikipedia.com
The Garbage in the Oceans is not something we can remove over night. Discovery News reports – According to Stiv Wilson of the 5Gyres project it is estimated he estimates that there are 315 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean right now.
The point of the calculations is this: cleaning up the plastics in the ocean ain’t gonna happen. Well-intentioned programs designed to take the fight to the high seas, like Project Kaisei and the Environmental Cleanup Coalition, for example, are exercises in futility.
“I’m not trying to call them out,” Wilson told Discovery News. “What I really fear is a barge full of plastic coming in under the Golden Gate bridge, the media taking pictures and people thinking ‘oh good, we’ve solved that problem.'”
A real cleanup would be astronomically expensive, both in terms of dollars and equipment.
Found these two cartoons below by Jim Toomey
Also Check out this TED Talk by Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic
You can read the article on Planet Green here
Using less or no plastic at all is the only solution really, but until we find a viable alternative to plastic the least we can do is to reduce the trash which goes where it should not.. Live Green!