Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pacific Vortex, More Than Clive Cussler Ever Imagined


This is why I want to get a degree in Environmental Studies, and this is why I want to apply it to the Volvo Ocean Race.

The "Great Pacific Gyre" or "Plastic Island" or "Trash Island."

I've facilitated the gathering, sorting, baling and reselling of over a million pounds of recyclable material in my time here at KU Recycling. That's about 702 tons of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, plastic... stuff. The Great Pacific Gyre contains about 58 tons of stuff, but consider this: Most of the garbage patch is not visible to the naked eye because it contains particles almost too small to see.

Ponder that. 58 tons of stuff so small it can barely be seen.

Now- you might think "Big whoop. If the stuff is so tiny, what's the problem?" Well, think about what a whale eats. Think about what seabirds eat. Think about what would happen to you if you ingested tiny bits of plastic every time you ate. Plastic you can't digest, plastic that may still be outgassing. You'd eventually be killed by it, right? Well, so are the whales, so are the birds, so are the fish, so are the plants... This island is a killer.

So I guess what I'm really trying to do is stop a killer.

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