The other day I talked about my frustration over seeing an excessive amount of ‘plastic bag trash’ littering one of our favorite Cleveland lakeside parks.
I feel I would be remiss without mentioning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I was honestly surprised by how many of my friends had not heard of it before, but it’s something I cannot stop thinking about.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is essentially seven million tons of floating plastic waste, roughly twice the size of Texas (and some say, twice the size of the entire US). It swirls through the ocean between the continental US and Japan, and contains everything from plastic bags to Legos to footballs. One fifth is believed to come from trash dumped from ships and oil rigs, and the rest comes from land and all of the plastics we discard on a daily basis.
Take a look, and see if you can keep from feeling just a little bit unsettled.
And if you want to know more detail…
The problem is this… the plastics break down into small pieces of debris, pollute the ocean and beaches, disturb the eco-system and literally become food for marine life, because they can’t distinguish between what is “real” food and what is our trash. In fact, the amount of plastic trash in this area is six times greater than the amount of plankton (this area’s most abundant food source). This “mistake” costs them their life. And think about what happens if you consume a fish whose diet consisted primarily of plastics… it makes me shudder.
The next time you think of tossing away some plastics… stop… and “really think”.
(Additional post: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: words from its “founder”)
(Additional post: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch… worse than expected?)
This post was also re-published, with permission, at The Reef Tank.