The Sea of Waste

Angelique NewmanStarred Page By Angelique Newman, 16th Nov 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/4tga3yl2/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Environment

The serene beauty of our ocean has become a plastic soup over years of abuse. What to do and how to stop it from getting worse.

Captain Charles Moore's discovery

After a yacht race to Hawaii in 1997 Captain Charles Moore changed his usual route on his return to California and encountered an ocean he had never seen before. "Every time I came on deck to survey the horizon, I saw a soap bottle, bottle cap or a shard of plastic waste bobbing by. Here I was in the middle of the ocean and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic." Since then Moore has dedicated his life and resources to understanding and finding a remedy to the ever growing pollutants.

Caught in the ocean’s giant gyres

Scientists report there may be five garbage patches trapped in large gyres in the oceans around the world. The great North Pacific garbage patch in the southeastern area is one of those, approximately twice the size of Texas. The current of these rotating gyres collects and pulls the majority of the waste into these circles. Fishing gear make up for some of the refuse but the majority of it is plastic; from bottles, bags, toothbrushes, etc., most of the waste is blown from the land, and washed down storm drains and out to sea.

The breakdown of plastic

Plastics absorb DDT, PCBs along with other chemicals as well as release them into the environment.

The plastic breaks down into billions of particles. The fish that feed on plankton ingest the plastic fragments, storing some of the chemicals; and so it goes down the food chain; larger fish eat the smaller fish which birds and humans feed on, transferring the toxins.

There’s no escaping the toxins. A Japan-based group gathered samples of water from Europe, Japan, U.S., India and elsewhere. The samples contained derivatives of polystyrene, which is a common plastic used in disposable cutlery, CDs, DVD cases and Styrofoam.

What people can do to alleviate the problem?

• Recycle,

• Use wise choices when buying something. When it comes to drinks like pop etc. buy it in cans instead of plastic bottles.

• Try to avoid buying plastic cutlery, Styrofoam and plastic dishes.

• (Tip; when mailing something fragile instead of using bubble wrap or Styrofoam noodles, wrap it up in cloth and use air-popped popcorn).

• Go back to the basics; buy glass or ceramic dishes, leather when it comes to shoes, purses and belts if the budget allows.

• Have a thermos cup when you go for coffee whether it is Starbucks or Tim Horton’s or whatever coffee shop you frequent, have your cup ready to avoid access trash and plastic lids.

• Concerned about the water you drink? Use a water filter; there are dozens of kinds out on the market to alleviate most concerns about your tap water. Or you could get a water distiller and use reusable bottles to take with you, instead of buying bottled water.

• Use reusable bags when shopping.

• (tip; you can also purchase a reusable bag as a gift bag to inspire your friends into action)

• Even the little things add up. Example; instead of buying those colorful plastic refill pencils, buy the old fashion wood ones (they come with various designs and colors on them that are sure to please the user). They’re dozens of things to list, but your trained eye will catch the nonessential items to avoid them when shopping.

• And if you happen to get something with plastic rings cut the loops so that marine life doesn’t get tangled in it.

One person can make a difference

Think of the garbage we get rid of on garbage day; that’s just one or two weeks’ worth now times that by a year, we can reduce that by half or three quarters by recycling and composting and more importantly we can keep plastic from our ocean and waterways by shopping with a keen eye on what we get and using reusable bags and bottles.

Related videos

Captain Charles Moore talks about the danger imposed on our sea.

Edward Norton’s campaign to stop the use of plastic bags

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/science/10patch.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080404-plastic-bags.html

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/08/21/plastic-is-more-biodegradable-than-we-thought-thats-bad/

http://www.algalita.org/pdf/plastic-in-the-environment.pdf

Tags

Captain Charles Moore, Ddt, Edward Norton, Fish, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Ocean Life, Oceans, Pacific Ocean, Pcbs, Plastic, Recycle, Reusable Bags, Reusable Bottles, The Island Of Garbage, Toxins

Meet the author

author avatar Angelique Newman
I'm a writer, blogger and a member of RWA. I'm interested in the environment and when I'm not writing I'm usually spending time with my family.

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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
29th Nov 2010 (#)

This is a very informative article Angelique and expertly written.

Liked and Tweeted

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author avatar Angelique Newman
29th Nov 2010 (#)

Thank you so very much Jerry; truly appreciated :)

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author avatar Denise O
29th Nov 2010 (#)

Loved this Angelique. Brillantly written and wonderful tips on what we
can do to help the problem.
Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved.
Thank you for sharing.:)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
29th Nov 2010 (#)

Thanks Denise,
I heard about the great garbage patch and was deeply moved by it. I wanted to do something and the only thing I could think of was to write about it.

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author avatar aesoplado
30th Nov 2010 (#)

We are bound to destroy the earth. Increase in population=increase in demand=increase in production=increase in artificial products= increase in non biodegradable materials= increase in waste= decrease in natural resources= death

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
30th Nov 2010 (#)

I agree it is disheartening aesoplado but it's not all gloom
and doom, people are making changes, various countries are banning plastic bags and the more
educated people are on the matter, they'll make wiser choices and demand better products.

Reply to this comment

author avatar ppruel
1st Dec 2010 (#)

If there is awareness and will, (from us) pollution can be controlled and our health saved.

Brilliantly written, Angelique.

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author avatar Angelique Newman
1st Dec 2010 (#)

Thank you kindly ppruel, I truly appreciate it :)

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author avatar SiddiQ
10th Dec 2010 (#)

I really hate the fact that people litter and then just forget about it.
Awareness shall arise!
Excellent article!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
11th Dec 2010 (#)

Thank you SiddiQ :)

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author avatar ROHIT SINHA
25th Dec 2010 (#)

ITS really a matter of fact ...good work....!!

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author avatar Angelique Newman
27th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks Rohit :)

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author avatar Rob Kentworth
27th Dec 2010 (#)

A nicely written article, Angelique.

I'm not exactly a person who worries about the environment consciously, but at the same time, I don't go out throwing cans onto the street and what have you. When there's a bin, I use it.

With a lot more care, the world would be less poluted. I'm sure it's not having a good effect on the sea life.

Thanks for sharing.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
28th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks for your comment and for stopping by, I really appreciate it.

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author avatar Carol
30th Dec 2010 (#)

very helpful article, well done

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author avatar Angelique Newman
31st Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks Carol; much appreciated and thanks for stopping by:)

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author avatar Carol
31st Dec 2010 (#)

Excellent and thoughtful, I just watched Tapped on Netflix, and learned alot about plastics and how bad they are on the environment, Thanks for reminding us on what we can do. I look forward to more of your thoughts. Good job.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
31st Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks Carol, I truly appreciate it :) when I heard about the damage plastics were doing to our ocean I felt compelled to write this article. Thanks again for stopping by.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Greenfaol
14th Jan 2011 (#)

Excellent article, really well written. Some plastics can be recycled. Bottles especially. I do think that going for alternatives is the best thing though - glass and alluminium. Great read.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
18th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you Greenfaol for your kind words :)
I totally agree with finding alternatives; to go back to wholesome material such as glass and aluminum.
Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my article :)

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author avatar Humza
20th Jan 2011 (#)

very well written angelique, we all needed it badly!
I think before going out for a solution on a national level, we all should try to look at what we on an individual basis can do to avoid it and overcome it!
Before coming out of our homes and blaming the authorities for being so slow so lazy in encountering such a disaster we all should make amendments in our life and set rules not to throw or dump garbage anywhere we like.
Because all those five gyres in the ocean have a little or so contribution of our garbage as well!
So alter urself first and then hunt for others!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
20th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you Humza; I agree we all have to do our part and not wait for someone else to do it. I noticed more and more people are using recyclable bags and making wiser choices, so in that I find it heartening.

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author avatar Retired
20th Jan 2011 (#)

What an amazing piece of work. It certainly deserves the star.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
20th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks Martin, I truly appreciate your kind words :)

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author avatar Retired
21st Jan 2011 (#)

Excellent and Important article and issue. Bravo. :)

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author avatar Angelique Newman
24th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you rama devi nina :)

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author avatar Randy
11th Feb 2011 (#)

Well done Ange,very educational for me .I had know Idea of the plastics problem in our oceans was dissolving into the food chain!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
17th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks Randy! Unfortunately, it's true, but we can improve the situation by recycling and buying non plastic items :)

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author avatar Javrsmith
10th Jul 2011 (#)

I picked up a large amount of plastic debris from a beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Much of it had Japanese or Chinese writing. There is way to much of that junk in the oceans.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
22nd Aug 2011 (#)

I totally agree Javrsmisth; we produce so much waste and a lot of it is not biodegradable.

It's great that you took part in cleaning up plastic debris from the beach--I hope more people will join in and help protect our waters and wildlife.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
20th Aug 2011 (#)

When I first heard of this mess it was from my step daughter, I didnt believe it at the time as there were no satelight images, but I have since learned that much of the platic floats just below the surface, and wrote a page on the same problem myself.
Buying non-plastic is important.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
22nd Aug 2011 (#)

Very true Mark; I believe it's one of the keys to solving this problem :)

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
21st Sep 2011 (#)

Excellent write.

"serene beauty of our ocean has become a plastic soup over years of abuse"

Astounding videos.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
29th Sep 2011 (#)

Thank you Rathnashikamani; I believe people have to watch what products they buy and try to avoid plastics and recycle whenever they can. I believe it's one of the solutions :)

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author avatar Tranquilpen
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you Angelique this is great journalism and very apt right now. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas :-))

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
27th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks Tranquilpen, your comment is truly appreciated :)

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you the very best for the new year!

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