Posted by: twotrees | March 23, 2018

Plastic Pangea

If you haven’t heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch then you haven’t been paying attention. It is a large mass of garbage (largely plastic) that is accumulating in the Pacific Ocean between North America and an area south of the Hawaiian Islands. And it’s big. Once thought to be the size of Texas, it is now thought to be twice that size. For those who love statistics, that is roughly 536,000 miles of volume. One could argue that it makes up the eighth continent on planet Earth and is estimated to weigh 174 million pounds. And growing.

If that’s not startling enough, here’s more: It’s growing and much of the plastic, which scientists know dates back at least 40 years, is decomposing, which is a bad thing.

Large chunks of debris, like plastic, are easier to collect and generally less likely to end up inside of marine life. There are exceptions, when whales, great white sharks and others consume large pieces and often die a slow death due to the trash clogging their intestines.

But the small stuff is more insidious and finds its way into and up the food chain, affecting all forms of life (including yours).  Although scientists feel that it’s unlikely to move out of the area which it now owns, imagine if it did (due to wind, tides, etc..) and landed on the beaches of California, Mexico or Hawaii.  Say goodnight…

Read the LA Times story about it here, which has a link to the original published piece in the journal Scientific Reports: http://enewspaper.latimes.com/desktop/latimes/default.aspx?pnum=6&edid=84bc38a0-b714-4b86-b747-a340214de449

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