March 11, 2008

Were you aware of this?

According to a San Francisco Chronicle article by Justin Berton (Friday, October 19, 2007) there is a continent-sized mass of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean. I consider this very disturbing news. Humans are so gross.

Click here to read some mythbusting about the trash in the pacific ocean at the Bring Your Own environmental blog. Apparently, it's more of a "trash soup" than a "trash patch". And definitely click here to read about Bring Your Own's visit to the trash soup.

Bring Your Own also provided this great map which gives a clearer picture of the huge area that is polluted by the trash:

Those yellow dots? Trash.



Jules said...

Awesome post. I've learned a lot, thanks. :)

jubilee said...

Ugh! The plastic angst I already felt has multiplied. What a disturbing picture!

The Barber Bunch said...

Very interesting and very GROSS!!


Amanda said...

Reluctant, how can we stop this? I am aware, but what can I do? I can switch to those reusable grocery bags. But I really think those are meant for people who live alone or go to the store everyday. It seems hard to use those for a family of six. I think I would need twenty of them. Am I making excuses? I really, genuinely want to know. Is this the expectation for me to go to the store with 20 reusable bags. Seriously, no joking here. I have switched to those weird lightbulbs. I don't think that helps with the trash goo, though.

SaraLynn said...

YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIPES!!!!!!!!!!
It is too gross!!!
i read their story and it is amazing. Being chased by a shark at night was also disturbing to me, as well as the yuckiness. (is that a word?)

Sass E-mum said...

Hey Amanda! I go shopping with 3 or 4 big usable bags. Plus, ooh, one or two reusable wine bottle bags. Just to be on the safe side.

Even folded up, they take up masses of space in the trolley though - I can see why that's not such a great idea for you.

The problem must be because of at least three things (bear with me, I'm making this up as I go along):

1. People throw rubbish in the sea or in rivers. Dumbasses. Hope they get caught.

2. People on boats throw their rubbish overboard. Piratey dumbasses. Who's ever going to catch them at it?

3. We (big international we, not my family, okay?) export our rubbish. Shipping it overseas to recycle or sometimes just to fill a hole somewhere else in the world. Inevitably some of it will end up in the water. Question is, does any know what happens to the landfill rubbish collected from the front of your house? I know I don't.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Sass E-mum makes some good points, but I want to point out that, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle article, much of the trash that's floating in the Pacific Ocean started out on land. I'm sure that people dumping garbage overboard and the like contributes as well. Tons of garbage and yuckiness gets washed into the water every time there's a storm. That's why they often have to close beaches near large cities after rain storms. I'm not sure how other flotsam makes into the water but it seems it does.

I use reusable grocery bags when I remember to bring them with me to the store. They hold more than regular plastic bags and I find them easier to carry. I need 4 to 8 bags per order.

Also, I think recycling any plastics that can be recycled is important. We keep our recyclables and drop them off at municipal recycling bins. Some places even collect recycling with garbage, curbside.

As far as I know, what is done with the garbage that is picked up outside our homes depends on where we live. Different municipalities have different rules and policies. Here our garbage is taken to the "first regional sanitary landfill", crushed, formed into bales (like hay would be), stacked and buried. They then measure and "manage" the gases, fluid, and other yuckiness to make sure it's not contaminating the ground and water nearby. I know because I looked it up. And ew!

I know some places have gone on to create ski hills and parks out of the mountains of garbage they've created. You can read about it here.

Joanna said...

How awful to know that all that rubbish is causing dreadful damage to the sea life.

All over the UK villages & towns are banning giving out a plastic bag and sell recycled cotton/canvas ones. It’s a start and we all have to our bit.