The ship has sailed… and taking one of my best friends with it.
But no worries, it’s a good thing!
Yesterday was the start of a new Plastics at SEA expedition – from San Diego, CA to Honolulu, HI. Off to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch!
… the latter is more unfortunate…
Have you ever wondered what happened to that plastic water bottle, that plastic bag or other plastic waste you see floating in the sea, setting sail for open waters?
It won’t decay. So what happens if it makes it to one of our big oceans?
Under the influence of sea water, sunlight and biological influences it will break into thousands and thousands of tiny little pieces – most smaller than your smallest finger nail. Just floating around on the ocean surface.
Areas of high densities of such small plastic particles are called ‘garbage patches’. High concentrations contain ~50 000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of ocean surface, though there are areas where concentrations of about 26 000 000 (!!) particles/km2 have been measured.
Obviously there is no way that plastic can be removed as it’s so tiny it will simply slip from most nets. So we can’t clean the oceans up anymore… the damage has been done.
SEA expeditions like this one try to understand how the presence and concentration of plastic, the toxins that they contain, affect the oceanic ecosystem. That delicate system that a lot of food chains depend on.
But no matter the outcome, it might be a good idea to try to clean our crap up a bit better – sweeping it under the carpet is not cleaning up, my mom taught me 😉
I’m pretty strict when it comes to recycling – paper, glass and plastic. Ever since I started recycling plastic I noticed how much of our daily waste it really makes up – my ‘normal’ waste has been reduced by more than half! Nowadays I carry a re-usable bag when I go grocery shopping. I will try to avoid buying plastic packing if I can. Sometimes I will even bring an empty plastic water bottle home, just so I can recycle it, if I don’t have the opportunity to dispose it properly.
Do you recycle? Do you ‘believe’ in recycling as a way to reduce our waste and limit the strain on our resources? Does the way and rate at which we tend to pollute worry you?
I wish the team of the SEA North Pacific Expedition all the best on their journey! And I would like to point out that I’m proud of my friend for being part of this – it’s pretty awesome after all 🙂
PS. the M&M’s bag was properly recycled after the photo shoot 😉