Sunday, November 15, 2009

Better Planet The World's Largest Dump: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I found this interesting article about the mountains of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean and thought I would share it with you. If this problem is this big in the Pacific Ocean, what about trash being dumped in our local rivers, streams and lakes?

Most of the outdoors men and women I know, respect our waters, fish habitats, environment, etc. but there are many visitors to our great outdoors who do not respect out precious natural resources. I know this and have seen it countless times as I have lived on the Muskegon River, a blue ribbon trout stream in Michigan popular among fishermen, tubers and kayaking. I also live on and own a vacation rental business on Hess Lake in Newaygo County and see the same problems with trash on my lake.

On the lake, it is common for me to pick up fishing gear plastic wrappers, plastic worm tubs, lids, plastic drink bottles and cigarette butts. Please share this article with everyone you know so we can all make a difference in keeping trash, especially plastics out of our waterways.

This is only one of hundreds of videos on the subject available on YouTube. 

In the central North Pacific, plastic outweighs surface zooplankton 6 to 1.
by Thomas M. Kostigen
From the July 2008 issue, published online July 10, 2008

I had never been so excited to see garbage in my life. I was actually giddy. After flying from Los Angeles to the Big Island of Hawaii, I hitched a ride on the research vessel Alguita as it did a shakedown cruise, readying to set sail to traverse the massive Eastern Garbage Patch, which lies between there and California. This rubbish-strewn patch floats within the North Pacific Gyre, the center of a series of currents several thousand miles wide that create a circular effect, ensnaring trash and debris. Around and around: bottles, plastic bags, fishnets, clothing, lighters, and myriad other man-made items, held until they disintegrate, make their way to distant seas, or merely bob among the waves before washing up on someone’s beach.

I learned about the Eastern Garbage Patch, also called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, from studies the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, based in Long Beach, California, has conducted while trolling it seven times over the past decade. The foundation’s fieldwork has revealed an ever-growing synthetic sea where particles concentrate by season, trash commutes in the currents from far-off places, and plastic outweighs zooplankton, retarding ocean life. Fascinating stuff. Captain Charles Moore founded the Algalita foundation and commands its research vessel, the Alguita. (Maddeningly similar names, I know.)

Moore first discovered the garbage patch when he crossed the Pacific in 1997 after competing in the Transpacific Yacht Race. Since then he has been passionate about investigating it and creating awareness about its significance—and the significance of the Eastern Garbage Patch is enormous. His findings have gone a long way toward educating the science community, if not yet the public, on the magnitude of marine pollution and its impact on life—all life.



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