The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing every day. Also known as the Pacific Gyre, this is one of the most godforsaken places on earth
where plastic to sea life ratios are 6:1; where birds and mammals are dying of starvation and dehydration with bellies full of plastics; where fish are ingesting toxins at such a rate that soon they will no longer be safe to eat.
A few commenters have taken issue with the posted images. This image was not taken at sea; read up on the GPGP to learn that it's composed or "nurdles" & the like which together form the toxic "soup" in the ocean. I suggest thinking more holistically if we are to comprehend the bigger picture of our man-made disasters.
(Cross-posted @ The Laughing Planet)
How big does this behemoth need to get before we begin hearing more about it?
It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement.
And it's not merely animals that are affected. Humans ultimately eat these toxins.
Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets, or nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, working their way into the sea. These pollutants act as chemical sponges attracting man-made chemicals such as hydrocarbons and the pesticide DDT. They then enter the food chain. "What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It's that simple"
Bill Maher mentioned it on his show this season, but the way it was mentioned seemed as if it was a 1st for him despite the fact that scientists predicted the GPGP as early as the 1980s.
If you are a regular here and have heard little to nothing about this story, you likely are not alone. Even a liberal bastion such as dKos shockingly returns zero previous results when I click on the 1st 2 tags of this diary.
The lovely and talented Edward Norton agrees. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags):
It puzzles me how often checkers and baggers look at me funny when I tell them I don't want any bags. I often need to repeat it up to 3 times because it is still so foreign to them. And I don't live in Timbuktu. This is in fracking California!
How & why did this happen? Well, in part it's because
The annual production of plastic resin in the United States has roughly doubled in the past 20 years, from nearly 60 billion pounds in 1987 to an estimated 120 billion pounds in 2007, according to a study by the American Chemistry Council, which represents the nation's largest plastic and chemical manufacturers.
Let's hope the confluence of awareness plus the increased cost of petrochemicals due to peak oil will lead to improved recycling efforts that will help keep this environmental nightmare from reaching catastrophic levels, if it isn't already there, that is.
Avoid buying plastics
Dispose of waste responsibly(Leave caps off any bottle you dispose of)
Join this Facebook Cause: Stop Trashing The Ocean: The Great Garbage Patch
Read This must-read article:
Thanks for the recs. I've barely missed a lot lately, but I'm glad something important like this is what made the big list.
Here's another good vid (H/T eeff in the comments):