That title almost sounds like a Radiohead song but unfortunately the tune is more catastrophic than harmonic. I just read an article in the LATimes about how much plastic garbage there is floating in the ocean.
To read the full article go here.
Here are some of the key points that I found completely incredible.
There are two huge floating areas of garbage in the Pacific two times the size of Texas.
They are not actually piles of garbage but sort of like water with a lot of garbage in it; 90% of which is plastic-”supple, durable materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene, Styrofoam, nylon and saran.
About four-fifths of marine trash comes from land, swept by wind or washed by rain off highways and city streets, down streams and rivers, and out to sea.
The amount of plastic in the oceans has risen sharply since the 1950s. Studies show a tenfold increase every decade in some places. Scientists expect the trend to continue, given the popularity of disposable plastic containers. The average American used 223 pounds of plastic in 2001. The plastics industry expects per-capita usage to increase to 326 pounds by the end of the decade.
The qualities that make plastics so useful are precisely what cause them to persist as trash.
Derived from petroleum, plastics eventually break down into carbon dioxide and water from exposure to heat and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
On land, the process can take decades, even centuries. At sea, it takes even longer, said Anthony L. Andrady, a polymer chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina who studies marine debris. Seawater keeps plastics cool while algae, barnacles and other marine growth block ultraviolet rays.
“Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere,” Andrady said, “because there is no effective mechanism to break it down.”-LA TIMES
These last paragraphs were literally copied from the LA Times article so don’t sue-it’s just that the information just makes you go “Holy Shit! I never realized that plastic doesn’t bio-degrade and that literally millions of tons of it is still floating in the ocean.(which means my Six Million Dollar Man™ doll that I had when I was eight is still out there either in a landfill or in the ocean swimming around with his bionic arms and legs.)
The craziest thing is that some “yachting guy” decided to take a short cut through one these garbage patches after a big race and spent a week sailing through garbage! Yes, it took him seven days of sailing through garbage until he hit open ocean again! WTF!
I guess the story made me very aware of the plastic I use on a daily basis and so now I’m looking at ways to reduce plastic in my life; plastic made from corn is bio-degradable!
On a side note, we all know plastic comes from oil and so does gasoline. It seems like oil has given us a great many conveniences over the last fifty years but at the same time it’s the root of what is hurting our chances for survival on the planet. It’s too bad our parents didn’t have the foresight to see the consequences of their actions on future generations. I hope we can.