Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Continent Found - Garbage Gyre II

UPDATE 2016: It;s getting "realer & realer"
As was reported on this blog, a man-made garbage "continent" threatens life.

It is twice the size of Texas.

It is floating in the Pacific Ocean 1000 miles off the coast of California.

It is not affectionately called the Garbage Gyre I.

It is usually called the garbage patch by mariners.

Scientists recently took a close look at this northern garbage continent, and were shocked; but now we find out is has an evil twin.

Scientists will now go to the even larger southern garbage "continent" next, Garbage Gyre II, where they have been afraid to look up until now:
"We're afraid at what we're going to find in the South Gyre, but we've got to go there," said Tony Haymet, director of the Scripps Institution.

Only humans are to blame for ocean debris, Goldstein said. In a blog entry posted a day before the science ship arrived in Newport, Ore., she wrote the research showed her the consequences of humanity's footprint on nature.

"Seeing that influence just floating out here in the middle of nowhere makes our power painfully obvious, and the consequences of the industrial age plain," she wrote. "It's not a pretty sight."
(Scripps Paper, PDF, see this and this too). The use of the phrase "the consequences of humanity's footprint on nature" shows the continuing ignorance and erroneous duality in the mind of far too many people.

It is as if they think nature is some separate entity we can do things to without consequence to us, instead of the truth that we are nature, so to the degree that we harm "nature" is the degree to which we harm our species.

Obviously humanity is failing in the goal of long term survival, because to be able to do that the Tenets of Ecocosmology must be adhered to.

Some disabused children are into the cover-up game all over again.

They can't be happy enough with covering up the rapes of children, so now they are covering up the rape of the Earth?

It figures, they are Oil-Qaeda's priests.

Pope Francis calls the abuse of the Earth a sin:
Pope Francis made the religious case for tackling climate change on Wednesday, calling on his fellow Christians to become “Custodians of Creation” and issuing a dire warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change.

Speaking to a massive crowd in Rome, the first Argentinian pope delivered a short address in which he argued that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences.

“Safeguard Creation,” he said. “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

The pope centered his environmentalist theology around the biblical creation story in the book of Genesis, where God is said to have created the world, declared it “good,” and charged humanity with its care. Francis also made reference to his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a famous lover of animals, and appeared to tie the ongoing environmental crisis to economic concerns — namely, instances where a wealthy minority exploits the planet at the expense of the poor.

“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.

Francis also said that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry.
(Climate Progress, emphasis added). In fact, this publicly expressed position by the Pope will become an official Papal Edict in 2015 (Message of Science & Religion - Western - 2).

Update: A paper published 14 Dec 2014 indicates that:
Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. Here we report an estimate of the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world's oceans from 24 expeditions (2007–2013) across all five sub-tropical gyres, costal Australia, Bay of Bengal and the Mediterranean Sea conducting surface net tows (N = 680) and visual survey transects of large plastic debris (N = 891). Using an oceanographic model of floating debris dispersal calibrated by our data, and correcting for wind-driven vertical mixing, we estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons. When comparing between four size classes, two microplastic [less than]4.75 mm and meso- and macroplastic [greater than]4.75 mm, a tremendous loss of microplastics is observed from the sea surface compared to expected rates of fragmentation, suggesting there are mechanisms at play that remove [less than]4.75 mm plastic particles from the ocean surface.

The impact of plastic pollution through ingestion and entanglement of marine fauna, ranging from zooplankton to cetaceans, seabirds and marine reptiles, are well documented. Adsorption of persistent organic pollutants onto plastic and their transfer into the tissues and organs through ingestion is impacting marine megafauna as well as lower trophic-level organisms, and their predators. These impacts are further exacerbated by the persistence of floating plastics, ranging from resin pellets to large derelict nets, docks and boats that float across oceans and transport microbial communities, algae, invertebrates, and fish to non-native regions, providing further rationale to monitor (and take steps to mitigate) the global distribution and abundance of plastic pollution.
(Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans, emphasis added). Ocean creatures which eat the plastic are eaten by other creatures (along with the plastic inside), including people:
To put that in context, that’s enough two liter plastic bottles to go to the moon and back twice, as the report’s lead author and the co-founder of 5 Gyres, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, recently told NBC News.

Most of this plastic (about 92 percent) degrades into particles that are smaller than a grain of rice. Though invisible to the naked eye, this plastic can pose a health hazard to marine life. Mistaking the particles for plankton or other bits of food, animals can eat the plastic, not only damaging their insides but also absorbing any toxins that the plastic has absorbed. Such toxins can include PCB, DDT, pesticides and mercury, all of which can be passed along the marine food chain, growing in toxic concentration, until they end up in the seafood humans eat.
(American Chemistry Council Responds to Latest 5 Gyres Report, emphasis added). Those American Catholic cranky kids (mentioned up-thread) are at odds with the Pope, like those cops in New York turning their backs on the mayor of NYC.

Update 2 (2/12/15):
The world's oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every foot (30 cm) of every nation's coastline around the globe.

That's according to scientists who released research on Thursday estimating that a staggering 8 million metric tones of plastic pollution enter the oceans each year from the world's 192 coastal countries based on 2010 data.

Based on rising waste levels, they estimated that more than 9 million tons would end up in the oceans in 2015.

Experts have sounded the alarm in recent years over how plastic pollution is killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and other creatures while sullying ocean ecosystems.
(World's Oceans Clogged By Millions Of Tons Of Plastic Trash).

Update 4/25/16:
As the Solar Impulse 2 made its historic 62-hour flight from Hawaii to California without fuel, pilot Bertrand Piccard personally saw the horrific amount of plastic in our oceans.
(‘I Flew Over Plastic Waste As Big As a Continent’).

Update June 3, 2016:
The globe's oceans have become floating repositories for much of the world's discarded trash. Ocean currents can carry debris for long distances around the globe. Much of it eventually ends up in swirling around the infamous "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
(Hawaiian islands strewn with debris: Where did it come from?).

UPDATE October 4, 2016:
"The first aerial survey of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch shows that the amount of debris swirling in the North Pacific has been “heavily underestimated,” the expedition group said.

On Monday, The Ocean Cleanup, a project founded in 2013 by then-18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat with the goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic, shared initial findings from its aerial expedition of the trash vortex between Hawaii and California.

Researchers documented more garbage at the edge of the gyre than they expected to see at its center, where debris is more concentrated, Slat said at a press conference at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California. In just 2 1/2 hours, he said, the crew observed more than 1,000 large floating objects."
(HuffPo). The Ocean Cleanup site is studying the location in order to form a cleanup plan (Ocean Cleanup).

UPDATE: May 18, 2017:
"In just over half a century plastic products have revolutionized human society and have infiltrated terrestrial and marine environments in every corner of the globe. The hazard plastic debris poses to biodiversity is well established, but mitigation and planning are often hampered by a lack of quantitative data on accumulation patterns. Here we document the amount of debris and rate of accumulation on Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific. The density of debris was the highest reported anywhere in the world, up to 671.6 items/m2 (mean ± SD: 239.4 ± 347.3 items/m2) on the surface of the beaches. Approximately 68% of debris (up to 4,496.9 pieces/m2) on the beach was buried [less than] 10 cm in the sediment. An estimated 37.7 million debris items weighing a total of 17.6 tons are currently present on Henderson, with up to 26.8 new items/m accumulating daily. Rarely visited by humans, Henderson Island and other remote islands may be sinks for some of the world’s increasing volume of waste."
(Exceptional and rapid accumulation of anthropogenic debris on one of the world’s most remote and pristine islands).

UPDATE June 21, 2017:

"Plastic pollution in the Antarctic is much worse than previously believed — five times worse, to be exact. According to a study by scientists at the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey, levels of microplastics in the region’s waters were much greater than formerly estimated.

Microplastics derive from items like toothpaste, shampoo, cosmetics and clothing, or breakdown from larger pieces of plastic debris. And while they usually enter the ocean by way of wastewater, more than half of the research stations in the relatively untouched Antarctic don’t have any such wastewater treatment plants, meaning the plastic is making its way through the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, previously thought to have been almost impossible to pass through."
(International Business Times, Raw Story).

UPDATE (9 Aug 2017):
Costa Rica wants to become the world's first country to achieve a
Surf's up ...
comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.

The Central American nation intends to replace these wasteful, ocean-clogging items—such as plastic store bags, straws, coffee stirrers, containers and plastic cutlery—for biodegradable or water-soluble alternatives, or products made of renewable materials (think plant starches).
(Ecco Watch).

UPDATE (November 23, 2017):
As the first woman to have sailed single-handedly around the world in both directions ...
('Planet is doomed' unless ocean health improves, says yachtswoman).

UPDATE (November 27, 2017): Idyllic Caribbean Island Covered In A Tide Of Plastic Trash Along Coastline

UPDATE (March 23, 2018):
"The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an enormous area of floating garbage halfway between California and Hawaii, is already recognized as the largest accumulation zone of ocean plastic on Earth. Now, it turns out that researchers may have been vastly underestimating its scale."
(Area Of Plastic In The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Three Times The Size Of France). "And there’s up to 16 times more trash than scientists had thought."

UPDATE (June 8, 2018):

Not so hard to see ...

(The giant garbage vortex in the Pacific Ocean is over twice the size of Texas — here's what it looks like).

UPDATE: January 12, 2019: (We Live In A World Full Of Plastic, And People Are Sick Of It).

UPDATE March 6, 2019: "In the Mariana Trench, the lowest point in any ocean, every tiny animal tested had plastic pollution hiding in its gut" (A Troubling Discovery in the Deepest Ocean Trenches).

UPDATE April 13, 2019: Federal judge threatens to temporarily block Carnival ships from docking at U.S. ports (because they "dumped plastic garbage into the ocean and illegally discharged gray water into Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska").

UPDATE MAY 23, 2019: "This Island ‘Unspoilt Paradise’ Is Littered With 400 Million Pieces Of Plastic" (Cocos Islands).

UPDATE JUNE 29, 2019: "40 Tons of Fishing Nets Pulled From Great Pacific Garbage Patch":

"In a mission to clean up trash floating in the ocean, environmentalists pulled 40 tons (36 metric tons) of abandoned fishing nets this month from an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
(TIME).Evidently the machinery broke down (see next update).

UPDATE JULY 12, 2019: "What It's Like To Swim Through The Most Polluted Part Of The Ocean":
"Ben Lecomte is swimming through tons of plastic. Pieces of it have gotten stuck to his face. He’s passed abandoned fishing nets that tangle and kill wildlife. He’s held pieces of broken storage crates blooming with algae and barnacles. And he wants us to see it all — so we know what we’ve done to the planet.
"There are several trash-collecting efforts underway in the Pacific. The most famous, the Ocean Cleanup system, was designed by 24-year-old Boyan Slat and floats with the currents to catch debris near the surface. The first iteration of this system broke in December, spilling trash back into the water before being towed to shore in Hawaii. The Ocean Cleanup deployed a new device in June."

UPDATE Aug. 22, 2019: If you can't see it you can't remove it (Scientists Astonished After Finding Microplastics In Arctic Snow).

UPDATE Feb. 2, 2020 "I know ... let's make it glow in the dark" (Japan panel: Fukushima water release to sea is best option).

UPDATE Feb. 4, 2020 (Even If World Reuses 50% Plastics, It Won't Be Enough).

UPDATE April 10, 2020 (Plastics Still Manage to Reach the End of the World).

UPDATE May 13, 2020 Visible Plastics are only 1% of total plastics in Oceans:
"Over 10 million tons of plastic waste enters the oceans each year. Floating plastic waste at sea has piqued the public interest, yet such accumulations account for less than 1% of the plastic that enters the world’s oceans. The missing 99% is instead thought to exist in the deep ocean, but until now it has been unclear where it actually ended up."

(Seafloor microplastic hotspots controlled by deep-sea currents).

UPDATE Jan. 18, 2021:

"A wheelbarrow and a handful of metal grids for capturing litter, emblazoned with the words 'Renew Oceans,' sit rusting outside an empty, padlocked office in the Indian city of Varanasi, a short walk from the Ganges.

It is all that is left of a programme, funded by some of the world’s biggest oil and chemical companies, that they said could solve a runaway ocean plastic waste crisis which is killing marine life - from plankton to whales - and clogging tropical beaches and coral reefs.

The closure of Renew Oceans, which has not previously been reported, is a sign that an industry whose financial future is tied to the growth of plastic production is falling short of its targets to curb the resulting increase in waste, according to two environmental groups.

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a Singapore-based nonprofit group set up two years ago by big oil and chemical companies, said on its website in November 2019 that its partnership with Renew Oceans would be expanded to the world’s most-polluted rivers and 'ultimately could stop the flow of plastic into the planet’s ocean.'

(Big Oil’s flagship plastic waste project sinks on the Ganges). 

"The United States is by far the biggest contributor to global plastic waste in the world, according to a new report submitted to the federal government Wednesday that called for a national strategy to tackle the growing crisis." (United States is world's biggest plastic polluter).

d more here:"

Read more here:
The next post in this series is here.

Not content with the pollution of the Earth, evidently heaven is next ...


  1. Replies
    1. If you can see Texas from space (you can) then why would you not be able to see something BIGGER than Texas from space? Huh smart guy?

    2. "None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see." - Matthew Henry

  2. Peter Wales,

    Did an space angel tell you that?

    The new "continent" (from the latin word meaning barrier) inside the newly discovered gyre (a barrier forming current) that was just discovered, now makes it one more continent.


    BTW, the debris can be seen from space.

  3. Wow, way to win Catholics over to your cause! When they want to investigate facts themselves to see what's what, hurl the ugliest invective you can think of at them! That'll save the Earth! They'll get right on board with that, for sure. What's the point here, getting self-righteously angry or trying to spread the word to people that we've got to take responsibility to care for our planet?

    You should change your tune. Honey wins over vinegar. Catholics are good people to talk to about the environment. We are taught we are supposed to be good stewards of the Earth. We've got St. Francis of Assisi and all that. There's a sound ethic there that could be mined for real support. Please, as someone who is passionate about these things, don't drive people away with your ugliness. Treating others with patience and respect can go a long, long way.

    So my advice, as some one who is a devout Catholic and who also cares deeply about the environment, get rid of the anger. You'll only hurt our cause.


  4. Faith, (part one)

    You should be preaching to the choir, because they are the ones who played and sang the bad music that started my reply to them.

    The lame post at "Catholic and Enjoying it - Mark's Stuff" showed very, very poor exegesis and hermeneutics by attacking this post and another blog called Ecocosmology.

    Mark the Text Hack disregarded the context, which is common among many literature challenged religionists who quite often have an aversion to science as well as metaphor.

    What a crock jock Mark The Text Hack is!

    So, the narrative is that they attacked this post, then they got what was righteously coming to them in return, then they whined about the justice of it all!

    A serious issue threatening their lives and the lives of billions of other Earth folk was pooh poohed because they interpreted the post out of existence through ignorance of obvious metaphor and literary license.

    "Mark's Stuff" is the type of puffy pabulum that has been used by Oil-Qaeda propagandists all along the way, so my criticism is directed toward "Mark The Text Hack" and those wannabes who believe his phony religious rap masking as coherent science.

    Here is one for "Mark The Text Hack" that is more within his pious but misinformed realm: Shades of the Mayan Calendar?. It is a prophecy by a catholic who was made a Saint by a Catholic Pope.

    It says the Pope they choose to replace Benedict XVI will be the final Pope.

    We all have the opportunity to see whether the prophecy is true or not.

  5. Faith (part two),

    Back to this post where the first sentence reads: "As was reported on this blog, a man-made garbage continent threatens life" is a link to Garbage Garbage Garbage which has a link to How Stuff Works, which has the statement: "The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and­ s­ailors rarely travel through the gyre. But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic. It's the largest landfill in the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean."

    Mark the Text Hack would shout them down because everybody knows that an "ocean" is not a "desert" and a "landfill" can't be in the ocean.

    He really knows how to focus on the issues doesn't he?

    Anyway, that "How Things Work" piece has a link to an LA Times article which says: The albatross chick jumped to its feet, eyes alert and focused. At 5 months, it stood 18 inches tall and was fully feathered except for the fuzz that fringed its head.

    All attitude, the chick straightened up and clacked its beak at a visitor, then rocked back and dangled webbed feet in the air to cool them in the afternoon breeze.

    The next afternoon, the chick ignored passersby. The bird was flopped on its belly, its legs splayed awkwardly. Its wings drooped in the hot sun. A few hours later, the chick was dead.

    John Klavitter, a wildlife biologist, turned the bird over and cut it open with a knife. Probing its innards with a gloved hand, he pulled out a yellowish sac — its stomach.

    Out tumbled a collection of red, blue and orange bottle caps, a black spray nozzle, part of a green comb, a white golf tee and a clump of tiny dark squid beaks ensnared in a tangle of fishing line.

    "This is pretty typical," said Klavitter, who is stationed at the atoll for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We often find cigarette lighters, bucket handles, toothbrushes, syringes, toy soldiers — anything made out of plastic."
    ... and "The atoll is littered with decomposing remains, grisly wreaths of feathers and bone surrounding colorful piles of bottle caps, plastic dinosaurs, checkers, highlighter pens, perfume bottles, fishing line and small Styrofoam balls. Klavitter has calculated that albatross feed their chicks about 5 tons of plastic a year at Midway.

    Albatross fly hundreds of miles in their search for food for their young. Their flight paths from Midway often take them over what is perhaps the world's largest dump: a slowly rotating mass of trash-laden water about twice the size of Texas.

    This is known as the Eastern Garbage Patch, part of a system of currents called the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Located halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii, the garbage patch is an area of slack winds and sluggish currents where flotsam collects from around the Pacific, much like foam piling up in the calm center of a hot tub."

    Offending Catholics?

    I would hope that Mark The Text Hack is the one offending Catholics.

    If not, that is their problem.

  6. Keep up the good work, "the saints" are asleep because of their fear and their deceit. Link

  7. I noticed that "Mark The Text Hack" has gone to confession, paid his "indulgence tax", got fondled, and is all happy now.

    So he deleted the false text he had posted about this post.

    Now, all the sycophants there just lick the link to this post, not realizing that it is now five years later or that the oceans change daily.

    The latest is that there are 5 continents (from the word 'barrier') in the world's oceans, which constantly change with wind, hurricanes, typhoons, sinking, breaking up, and floating of debris to shore.

    Dear catlicks, please don't make Galileo swear that the Earth is the center of the universe again --or get burned at the stake.

    Please,please, please plastic Cheezus and plastic Mamma Mia.

  8. "The Pacific Ocean appears to be turning toxic to all life, a prospect with unimaginably dire consequences for humanity." (link)

    You guys can go on to heaven now.

  9. "The oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050" (link).

  10. 'Biodegradable' Plastics Are A Big Fat Lie (link)

  11. "Beached Whale Found With 30 Plastic Bags Crammed In Its Belly" - link

  12. "‘Ocean Smog’ Is Taking Over The Seas And You’re Probably Eating It, Too" (Huffington Post).

  13. "Scientists Have Confirmed a Garbage Patch 1.5 Times the Size of Texas in the South Pacific" link

  14. "A visible threat to the ocean is plastic pollution and the accumulation of rubbish. Reports of massive collections of floating rubbish in oceanic gyres4 and washed up debris on remote and uninhabited islands5 make it clear that something needs to be done to reduce plastic pollution. Only the larger pieces of plastic are visible; microplastics are ubiquitous6, 7 and are small enough to be consumed by marine creatures."

  15. "Plastic in the ocean is an environmental crisis that rivals climate change " - (link)