Wednesday, October 31, 2007

*Plastic Floating Texas*

This just in...well, not really JUST in, but its news to me. There is a giant garbage patch in the middle of the ocean (800 miles north of Hawii). The patch is filled with plastic bags, toys, bins, oil bottles, and other discarded junk. It is approx. twice the size of Texas....wait, wait, wait, did you get that TWICE the size of TEXAS....TEXAS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Apperently all this discarded junk (by the way, it is approximated that each individual throws away 185lbs of plastic each year, thats plastic that will never go away) foats around in the sea slowly making its way to an area known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. It is known to sailors as being a desert of water. A place where the winds and the waters slowly churn clockwise in a vortex sucking in debris from all around. It is apperently caused by a mountanous high pressure system that lingers above it.
Contained in this mess of plastic, as well as washing up on shore, are creatures that have mistaken bits of plastic as food. "One animal dissected by Dutch researchers contained 1,603 pieces of plastic." Surveys of the water were done and it was discovered that this area of the sea contains six times (by weight) the amount of plastic as it does plankton, a large portion of which is invisible to the eye. This means that this type of pollution is most likely to get inside of humans who eat the polluted fish.
On a side note only plastics number 1 and number 2 (the number inside the three arrows triangle indicating recyclable items) have a chance of escaping landfills, all other plastics 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 will most likely end up in the dumps for years....and years.

I just heard about this 'floating plastic Texas' in a meeting with a client and decided to look it up. You should is a link to get started...

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