|Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)|
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has, for years, written about this area known to mariners as "The Garbage Patch", known to oceanographers as "The Pacific Gyre," and now known to climate scientists as "The Blob" (Garbage Garbage Garbage, New Continent Found - Garbage Gyre II, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, The Gyres, The America's Cup & Medals, The Blob).
The area I wrote about, in 2009, was full of garbage and debris from civilization as we know it:
Not everyone will remember the song Garbage by Steele and Seeger.(Garbage Garbage Garbage). By now it has had Fukishima radiation and tsunami debris added to it (Fukushima Surpasses Chernobyl ... what? Russian communist radiation surpassed by Japanese democratic radiation?).
Not many people know about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
It is in the ocean, and the eastern portion is twice the size of Texas.
The western portion is not quite as large.
The garbage patches present numerous hazards to marine life, fishing and tourism. But before we discuss those, it's important to look at the role of plastic. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world's oceans. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.(How Stuff Works). More than twice the size of Texas ... and then some.
Anyway, now "The Garbage Patch" is also a warm-water spot that is said to be having an impact on climate patterns (The Blob).
When sea levels rise a bit more, perhaps some of that garbage will make its way back to the ports of the civilization it came from (Will This Float Your Boat - 8).
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
Let them eat plastic ...