• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Plastic garbage patch the size of half of Australia in the Pacific

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
0
76

Bloomberg

Pacific Ocean Plastic Mistaken for Plankton Threatens Wildlife

By Adam Satariano
More Photos/Details

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Marine researchers Charles Moore and Marcus Eriksen surveyed the dark water of the Pacific Ocean aboard a catamaran about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) north of Hawaii in January and found trash everywhere.

They were in the eye of the North Pacific subtropical gyre, where opposing ocean currents form a vortex bigger than Australia, trapping tons of floating debris in its circular flow.

Trash that wound up there used to decompose. Now, with 403 billion pounds of plastic produced annually, according to the Houston-based consulting group Chemical Markets Associates Inc., areas of the gyre have turned into a soup of indigestible shards that can break down to the size of plankton and be mistaken for food, endangering millions of fish and birds.

``No matter where we go, we find plastic,'' said Moore, 60. ``The ocean is now this plastic soup, and we just don't know what that's doing.''

Marine debris worldwide kills more than 1 million sea birds and 100,000 mammals each year, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The chemical-laden materials have been found in the stomachs of dead fish and birds.

``We know that these plastics can carry high levels of toxins that they collect as they float,'' said Eriksen, 40, an oceanographer with Moore at the nonprofit Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, California. ``The next step is to see if it bio-accumulates up the food chain onto your dinner plate.''


No clean-up efforts are under way, according to the NOAA and researchers. Moore and Eriksen said such an endeavor wouldn't be feasible because of the distance from land. The oceanographic agency has focused on removing derelict fishing gear threatening marine mammals and corals. The plastic industry is funding litter-reduction efforts.

Garbage Patch

The gyre isn't a solid floating trash heap visible from the air, Moore said. Instead, billions of tiny plastic scraps bob on the water's surface along with occasional larger pieces like fishing gear, wood, bottles, toothbrushes and cigarette lighters. Ocean sampling shows that there are as many as 1 million plastic pieces, each 1 to 2 millimeters across, in each square kilometer (0.4 square mile) in the area, Moore says.


The vortex covers about 10 million square miles north of the equator, rotating clockwise from about 300 miles off California's coast to near Japan. It's the result of prevailing winds that move west to east on the northern side and in the opposite direction to the south.

Though a comprehensive study on the garbage patch's size hasn't been conducted, Moore estimates debris accumulates in about half the gyre, mostly in separate swirls in the east and west. The highest concentrations are near Hawaii, he said.

Moore discovered the garbage patch in 1997. He was testing his boat's engine by traveling through an area of the Pacific known for its calm winds. For days, he saw plastic shards glistening in the flat ocean 1,000 miles from the nearest port.

`No End Game'

In January, Moore, Eriksen and other researchers boarded a 25-ton, aluminum-hull catamaran for a monthlong trip to the gyre. The concentration of debris increased to 0.01 grams of plastic in each square meter of water from 0.002 grams in 1999, Eriksen said.

``Every product now is expected to be wrapped in plastic, and there is no take-back infrastructure for that packaging,'' Moore said. ``This lubricant of globalization has no end game. There's no after-life for it and since the ocean is downhill from everywhere, that's where it ends up.''

The United Nations in 2006 estimated that each square mile of ocean carries 46,000 pieces of debris. Water samples of the garbage patches show six times as much plastic as plankton, Moore said. He will receive an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his research on marine debris on April 14 in San Francisco.

Plastic Production

U.S. plastic production surged four-fold to 113 billion pounds in 2006 from 29 billion in 1973, according to the Washington-based American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group. There is no correlation between plastic production and marine debris, said Sharon Kneiss, vice president of the organization.

``Plastics don't belong in the ocean; they don't belong in the roadway; they belong in the recycling bin,'' Kneiss said. ``Yes, there are plastics and other debris in the gyre. It is a problem that we're concerned about.''

About 80 percent of ocean trash starts on land and is carried along by wind, rivers and storm drains, according to the UN. Water bottles discarded in Tokyo or beach toys thrown out in San Diego wind up in the whirlpools after breaking down into smaller pieces along the way.

Threat to Hawaii

About 600 tons of industrial fishing gear washed up on Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the past decade, threatening the Hawaiian monk seal, the most endangered U.S. marine mammal, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Climate change and marine debris are the most serious threats to the islands' ocean habitats, said Rusty Brainard, head of coral reef ecosystem research at the NOAA.

``All the plastic is unbelievable,'' said Brainard, 49. ``These are places that are uninhabited, thousands of miles from where anybody lives, and yet they are just covered in human trash.''
Ugh. More plastic straws for the camels back. One of these days we are going to have to face the direct consequences of our life style when eco systems break down for real.




 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,583
431
126
The ecosystem isn't going to break down. It will adjust, change and/or preserve itself. Whether or not it will change to something we find comfortably livable is another matter.
 

ScottMac

Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member
Mar 19, 2001
5,471
2
0
Naw ... more like a Steven Segal or Chuck Norris "Polypropylene Vortex of Death"

Besides, once all the glaciers melt, we're gonna need some kind of bumper / place holder and it'll give the polar bears somewhere to hunt ... and *THIS* time, it's permanent ... man triumphs over nature's defects.


 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,051
126
The concentration of debris increased to 0.01 grams of plastic in each square meter of water from 0.002 grams in 1999, Eriksen said.

Eh?
 

fallout man

Golden Member
Nov 20, 2007
1,799
0
0
Originally posted by: Arkaign
The concentration of debris increased to 0.01 grams of plastic in each square meter of water from 0.002 grams in 1999, Eriksen said.

Eh?
Over 9 years, the amount of plastic in the patch increased five-fold.

I blame it on all on the rising popularity of plastic surgery among women who tend to get dumped dead off the bow of rich dudes' yachts.
 

m1ldslide1

Platinum Member
Feb 20, 2006
2,322
0
0
Originally posted by: fallout man
Originally posted by: Arkaign
The concentration of debris increased to 0.01 grams of plastic in each square meter of water from 0.002 grams in 1999, Eriksen said.

Eh?
Over 9 years, the amount of plastic in the patch increased five-fold.

I blame it on all on the rising popularity of plastic surgery among women who tend to get dumped dead off the bow of rich dudes' yachts.
I blame it on al-qaeda.
 
Oct 25, 2006
11,036
9
91
Originally posted by: m1ldslide1
Originally posted by: fallout man
Originally posted by: Arkaign
The concentration of debris increased to 0.01 grams of plastic in each square meter of water from 0.002 grams in 1999, Eriksen said.

Eh?
Over 9 years, the amount of plastic in the patch increased five-fold.

I blame it on all on the rising popularity of plastic surgery among women who tend to get dumped dead off the bow of rich dudes' yachts.
I blame it on al-qaeda.
I blame it all on Bush
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,214
2
0
As an observer of the illogical GW alarmism, I do nonetheless see consequences for our throwing of trash directly into the ocean or rivers or whatever else. This one is fairly bad.
 

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
0
76
Originally posted by: blackllotus
How come they never provide pictures of this thing. I want to see it!
There is a pic in the article of a water sample from the patch, looks pretty nasty.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,079
186
106
Gives a whole new outlook on the paper or plastic question.......

Ummmm, What would Jesus do?

I blame it all on the religion people that choose to ignore the world we live in... Since they are going to a better place why should they care?
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,976
3,479
126
Originally posted by: ericlp
Gives a whole new outlook on the paper or plastic question.......

Ummmm, What would Jesus do?

I blame it all on the religion people that choose to ignore the world we live in... Since they are going to a better place why should they care?
I blame it on society.

People are comfortable, fat, lazy, and happy in their lives. We might bitch and moan about certain things, we might have pet peeves we focus and berate others on, but overall we're fairy content.

People aren't about to sacrifice any behavioral pattern such as littering in order to improve something that doesn't directly impact them.

To begin.. how do we even begin to stop the continued addition to this pollution? Stop using plastics? Dispose of plastics a specific way? You?ll never achieve anything without a clear and decisive plan of action. Only then can you begin to fight to ensure it is enacted and that is where I bet you?ll struggle greatest if not completely fail.
 

JD50

Lifer
Sep 4, 2005
11,073
382
126
Originally posted by: ericlp
Gives a whole new outlook on the paper or plastic question.......

Ummmm, What would Jesus do?

I blame it all on the religion people that choose to ignore the world we live in... Since they are going to a better place why should they care?
Yes, religion is definitely the problem here.....:roll:

You've got a strange obsession with religion.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,079
186
106
Actually Hawaii, has banned plastic bags in it's state. You bring you OWN bag when you load up with grocery's ... It's a start.

Seriously tho. We all make up the world... But when 80% are religious and bush being one of them.... Why would he care to do anything?

If he happened to choke and die on a plastic strand from a fish dinner he ate........ He's going to the promise land and he can't wait to get there.... Sooner the better!!!!!!! :)

Tho, you are right it is the leaders of this world that can change for the good. Peons like you and I aren't going to change the nation bush could if he wanted too but he doesn't want too so sit back and enjoy your big plastic garbage land fill in the pacific ocean....


 

JD50

Lifer
Sep 4, 2005
11,073
382
126
Originally posted by: ericlp
Actually Hawaii, has banned plastic bags in it's state. You bring you OWN bag when you load up with grocery's ... It's a start.

Seriously tho. We all make up the world... But when 80% are religious and bush being one of them.... Why would he care to do anything?

If he happened to choke and die on a plastic strand from a fish dinner he ate........ He's going to the promise land and he can't wait to get there.... Sooner the better!!!!!!! :)

Tho, you are right it is the leaders of this world that can change for the good. Peons like you and I aren't going to change the nation bush could if he wanted too but he doesn't want too so sit back and enjoy your big plastic garbage land fill in the pacific ocean....
:confused:

So, because "80% are religious" that says to you that our pollution problem has something to do with religion? Oh, and of course it's Bush's fault, there was no pollution before Bush stepped into office.

Honestly I really don't know what you're trying to say in your post, it's very confusing.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,079
186
106
Yawn........

I guess I will go out on a limb here and assume like bush you are religious person? I mean ... if over 80% are like bush and believe in the same way...... You align you views with him since they voted him in for this reason... He hasn't really done much for the environment... Personally we could have banned cars a long time ago that get piss poor gas millage.... We could be doing a LOT of stuff to clean up our environment but you choose not too. If our leader wanted to pass a cleaner bill or to make a plastic that maybe cost more but only took 3 years to break down or put more money into trash burning power plants to get rid of waste and turn it back into energy. We could be doing lot's but he chooses not too. Don't know what the problem is; Maybe it has something to do with religion ... Maybe not...

But I will group it all together ... Tie it all in and say that it all goes hand in hand... From what I read in the papers about religion (maybe they are the extreme type) but a lot of religion topics these days revolve around that they could really care less what happens to the planet, the rapture will save them no matter what.... Bunch of BS to me. Doesn't mean you can't ignore the problems around you. If you are in power to change the world then do it. If you read the bible then supposedly god put all the animals and resources for us to consume and do with any way we wanted to.... Show some respect!

Don't like my logic? Then piss off....

 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,387
141
116
Somethings gotta give.

Just like our economy, the planet Earth needs a "correction" every now and then to wipe the slate clean.

The next 50 years will be a fun ride.
 

JD50

Lifer
Sep 4, 2005
11,073
382
126
Originally posted by: ericlp
Yawn........

I guess I will go out on a limb here and assume like bush you are religious person?

I am somewhat religious but nothing like Bush....

I mean ... if over 80% are like bush and believe in the same way...... You align you views with him since they voted him in for this reason...

Ummmm....what?

He hasn't really done much for the environment...

Great, that has nothing to do with religion

Personally we could have banned cars a long time ago that get piss poor gas millage....

Great, that has nothing to do with religion

We could be doing a LOT of stuff to clean up our environment but you choose not too.

What? I choose not to? How do you even know what I do? And what does my religion have to do with cleaning up our environment?

If our leader wanted to pass a cleaner bill or to make a plastic that maybe cost more but only took 3 years to break down or put more money into trash burning power plants to get rid of waste and turn it back into energy.

Yes, if he passed that bill this new kind of plastic would be automagically invented....:roll: Again, that has nothing to do with religion.

We could be doing lot's but he chooses not too. Don't know what the problem is; Maybe it has something to do with religion ... Maybe not...

But I will group it all together ... Tie it all in and say that it all goes hand in hand...

Well great, you do that, and make yourself look like a fool in the process.

From what I read in the papers about religion (maybe they are the extreme type) but a lot of religion topics these days revolve around that they could really care less what happens to the planet, the rapture will save them no matter what.... Bunch of BS to me.

Links??

Doesn't mean you can't ignore the problems around you. If you are in power to change the world then do it.

Who are you talking about here? The religious people that somehow collectively rule the world? Or GWB who, according to you, 80% of the world agrees with?

If you read the bible then supposedly god put all the animals and resources for us to consume and do with any way we wanted to.... Show some respect!

Don't like my logic? Then piss off....

It's not that I don't like your logic, It's just that I can't find your logic.

Also, could you please post some links backing up your claim that 80% of the world doesn't care about pollution because they are religious? TIA.
 

Socio

Golden Member
May 19, 2002
1,726
2
81
No clean-up efforts are under way, according to the NOAA and researchers. Moore and Eriksen said such an endeavor wouldn't be feasible because of the distance from land.
Why could they not take those huge barges out there and some boats outfitted with tight mesh nets and troll for this crap and load it on the barges?

Or better yet use something in the areas like the substance they use on oil slicks that makes the oil dissolve.
 

bbdub333

Senior member
Aug 21, 2007
686
0
0
Originally posted by: ericlp
Yawn........

I guess I will go out on a limb here and assume like bush you are religious person? I mean ... if over 80% are like bush and believe in the same way...... You align you views with him since they voted him in for this reason... He hasn't really done much for the environment... Personally we could have banned cars a long time ago that get piss poor gas millage.... We could be doing a LOT of stuff to clean up our environment but you choose not too. If our leader wanted to pass a cleaner bill or to make a plastic that maybe cost more but only took 3 years to break down or put more money into trash burning power plants to get rid of waste and turn it back into energy. We could be doing lot's but he chooses not too. Don't know what the problem is; Maybe it has something to do with religion ... Maybe not...

But I will group it all together ... Tie it all in and say that it all goes hand in hand... From what I read in the papers about religion (maybe they are the extreme type) but a lot of religion topics these days revolve around that they could really care less what happens to the planet, the rapture will save them no matter what.... Bunch of BS to me. Doesn't mean you can't ignore the problems around you. If you are in power to change the world then do it. If you read the bible then supposedly god put all the animals and resources for us to consume and do with any way we wanted to.... Show some respect!

Don't like my logic? Then piss off....
Pretty sure reading that made everyone here a little more stupid. Honestly... are/were you drunk when you wrote this diatrab of rambling, incoherent thought?
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY