I sometimes feel that these posts get sucked into a cyber vacuum and nobody really bothers to read them. And then I get tons of feedback and I feel my rants are not in vain. Yesterday’s shocker about the state of our oceans drew a good few responses. The overiding sense is ‘so what can we do about it?’ Indeed, how CAN we act/react to something so seemingly insurmountable.
One of my readers passed on a frightening little article about the Pacific Garbage patch…or soup as it is now known. It is something we have all heard about (and would prefer it were not true). It is I am afraid…read below.
But it brings me to today’s point. Here’s something you can do…and you can start TODAY.
Just become plastics savvy. Stop buying the wretched stuff. It is possible to avoid it while traipsing down the shopping aisles. Find stuff that is NOT wrapped in plastic. Avoid anything remotely disposable – from utensils, to pens, to razors, to cigarette lighters. Just don’t go there.
When you walk on the beach or anywhere near a coastal area, TAKE A BAG and pick up anything that is ‘out of place’ (you won’t struggle to fill several bags, believe me). Recycle all the plastic you do find and dispose of the rest (in the hope that the municipal dump is positioned far enough away from the coast, of course!)
The photo above is of a haul of rubbish collected off our local beach a few days ago. On this short 40 minute walk, my family (the three of us) collected three shopping bags and a plastic crate full of stuff. Mostly plastic. Included in this = three cigarette lighters!!!
Snippets from the plastic soup article follows….read it and weep, but THEN take up arms and do something about it!
A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.
The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.
Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years and compares the trash vortex to a living entity: “It moves around like a big animal without a leash.” When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. “The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic,” he added.
… unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, the plastic stew would double in size over the next decade.Professor Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with Algalita in search of the garbage patch later this year and believes the expanse of junk actually represents a new habitat. Historically, rubbish that ends up in oceanic gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics are so durable that objects half-a-century old have been found in the north Pacific dump. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere,” said Tony Andrady, a chemist with the US-based Research Triangle Institute.
According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds, which mistake them for food.
Plastic is believed to constitute 90 per cent of all rubbish floating in the oceans. The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel Howden
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch / http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/the-worlds-rubbish-dump-a-tip-that-stretches-from-hawaii-to-japan-778016.html