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Texas Size Patch of Trash Floating in Pacific


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#1    Reincarnated

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 10:46 PM

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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The centre of the North Pacific Gyre is relatively stationary (the area it occupies is often referred to as the horse latitudes) and the circular rotation around it draws waste material in. This has led to the accumulation of flotsam and other debris in huge floating 'clouds' of waste, leading to the informal name The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Eastern Garbage Patch. While historically this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic. Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, disintegrating in the ocean into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces, still polymers, eventually become individual molecules, which are still not easily digested.[1] The photodegraded plastic can attract pollutants such as PCBs. The floating particles also resemble zooplankton, which can lead to them being consumed by jellyfish, thus entering the ocean food chain. In samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (the dominant animalian life in the area) by six times.

Occasionally, shifts in the ocean currents release flotsam lost from cargo ships into the currents around the North Pacific Gyre, leading to predictable patterns of garbage washing up on the shores around the outskirts of the gyre. The most famous was the loss of approximately 80,000 Nike sneakers and boots from the ship Hansa Carrier in 1990: the currents of the gyre distributed the shoes around the shores of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii over the following three years. Similar cargo spills have involved tens of thousands of bathtub toys in 1992 and hockey equipment in 1994. These events have become a major source of data on global-scale ocean currents. Various institutions have asked the public to report the landfall locations of the objects (trainers, rubber ducks, etc.) that wash up as a method of tracking surface waters' response to the deeper ocean currents.

For several years ocean researcher Charles Moore has been investigating a concentration of floating plastic debris in the North Pacific Gyre. His study indicates that ocean currents have added to the mass until it is now about the size of Texas. Many of these long-lasting pieces wind up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals.

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Bottle caps and other plastic objects are visible inside the decomposed carcass of this Laysan albatoss on Kure Atoll, which lies in a remote and virtually uninhabited region of the North Pacific. The bird probably mistook the plastics for food and ingested them while foraging.

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#2    Ghost Ship

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 11:06 PM

If someone were so inclined this whole mess could be cleaned up.


#3    magnetar

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 12:28 AM

As I recall, there is one full time resident/scientist (lady) on these islands. There are also volunteer college students who periodically help to clean the chronic mess.


#4    Reincarnated

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 05:03 AM

Here is a good video on Google explaining plastic pollution and the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch; http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3892310789953943147


#5    SeaMare

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 06:44 AM

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Here is a good video on Google explaining plastic pollution and the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch; http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3892310789953943147


Awful! thanks for the post, though.

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#6    laveticus666

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 01:09 AM

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Here is a good video on Google explaining plastic pollution and the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch; http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3892310789953943147

wow some of the life they where showing towards the end was amazing.  Awesome to see some of whats down there.


#7    Reincarnated

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 06:24 AM

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Awful! thanks for the post, though.
Yeah, it's disgusting and depressing but we must be reminded of the tremendous impact humans have on our environment. Maybe someone will think twice about littering after reading this thread?


#8    sbradj

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:07 PM

thanks for the info.... it is sad to see how inconcederate humans are of the planet..i had no idea this even existed untill now...very dissappointing ..

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#9    recon_soldier

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:22 PM

There are much worse things that humans are doing to our environment at this very second, some of what makes this look like nothing :/
No im not talking global warming.

Still disturbing and very depressing.


#10    Lt_Ripley

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:32 PM

we all agree it's sad. but what are we doing about it other than saying it's sad.?

how many here shop with reusable bags instead of the plastic at the grocery?

http://www.reusablebags.com/




#11    The Silver Thong

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:50 PM

This is no laughing matter, but I'm waiting for one of the hard core believers in climate change has nothing to do with humans to pop up and say this is a natural cycle that the earth goes through LOL      Lets clean this crap up !!!!

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#12    recon_soldier

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:54 PM

Well i dont believe large scale climate change is caused by man, But im not saying that we arent screwing our planet up - Thats a fact that nobody can deny.  But this topic is hardly about that.

We cause largely irreversible damage to our planet and wilflife on an hourly basis.



#13    truethat

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 05:11 PM

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Yeah, it's disgusting and depressing but we must be reminded of the tremendous impact humans have on our environment. Maybe someone will think twice about littering after reading this thread?



Not just littering but USING.   Think about your Dunkin Donuts cups.   How many do you get a week, a month a year?

Thats a lot of garbage in the end and its only one item of garbage.


#14    sbradj

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:10 PM

i know this is just one drop in the bucket in comparassion to all the debrie we produce on a daily basis...i visit our local "land-fill" often and it is exactly what it is labeled as land fill...all this trash ppl produce and dispose of on a daily basis is amazing ...where are we gonna put all this garbage at when we run outta filling space...almost everyone on this planet has some sort of trash pick up..yeah its picked up an put in a "proper' faclity but is it really safe for the land and animals that consume this stuff...couldnt imagine all the trash in the waters.. angry.gif its  always been talked about since i can remember but nothing has ever been done with it...and now its as if there is no way of controlling it there is more than can be handled...i really had no idea that it was this bad untill i saw that pic...maybe more pics should be produced to the public to bring it to acknowledgement..i dunno justa thought...

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#15    SilverCougar

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 11:14 PM

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Not just littering but USING.   Think about your Dunkin Donuts cups.   How many do you get a week, a month a year?

Thats a lot of garbage in the end and its only one item of garbage.


None, none, and none. X)

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