|UPDATE 2016: It;s getting "realer & realer"|
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.(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.
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."
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.(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).
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.
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.(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:
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.
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.(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.
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.
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.(World's Oceans Clogged By Millions Of Tons Of Plastic Trash).
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.
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.(HuffPo). The Ocean Cleanup site is studying the location in order to form a cleanup plan (Ocean Cleanup).
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."
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.(International Business Times, Raw Story).
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."
UPDATE (9 Aug 2017):
Costa Rica wants to become the world's first country to achieve a(Ecco Watch).
comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.
Surf's up ...
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).
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 ...|
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.(Yahoo).
"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).
The next post in this series is here.
Not content with the pollution of the Earth, evidently heaven is next ...