The Great Garbage Patch, East and West

worlds_rubbish_dump.jpg (87 KB)

Floating islands of non-biodegradable debris

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    40 Responses to The Great Garbage Patch, East and West

    1. Is this any worse than having it in landfill? I wonder what sort of impact his has on the fishies.

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    2. Waiting for someone to explain why this is my fault, even though I have nothing to do with it.

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    3. A couple years ago San Francisco banned plastic bags from being given out at grocery stores. As a resident, I originally thought it was a lame, publicity-generating exercise in futility. But now that I don’t see so many plastic bags swirling around the air in my homeless & druggie infested hood (and being so close to the Bay & the ocean, lots of these bags and general garbage tends to end up falling into the water).

      And then I did some driving on Maui last year where I took a short cut right by the island’s landfill. As soon as you get within range, you’ll see fields of plastic bags and other crap snagged on the grass and sugar cane stalks around the area. This stuff probably ends up in the ocean as well.

      But overall, I suspect a LOT of the garbage that ends up in the ocean comes from dirt poor places with terrible trash management issues (e.g. certain countries in Asia). No municipal trash pickup? No problem! Just throw it in the river…

      So is it your fault AlecDalek? Maybe not directly. But consumers should be insisting on biodegradable containers that don’t foul up the ocean or last for eternity in a landfill.

      Yuck. This is the longest MCS entry I’ve ever typed.

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    4. We’re all at fault.

      We want to be civilized? This is the price we have to pay for being arrogant beings that cannot (more like, don’t want to) just rely only on natural resources.

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    5. @MalcoveMagnesia: They put a tax on plastic bags here in Ireland, you have to pay 22 cents for one, and it’s made a huge difference, it’s a very good idea, but not one that will solve this problem. It’s probably mostly plastic bottles.

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    6. I’ve started using reusable bags and never looked back. I just need to get some little mesh bags for my veggies, now.

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    7. Home Depot has the best reusable bags, they’re huge and they have these neat plastic clips that let you hook them to the shopping cart to hold them open.

      The same clips also let you keep the bag closed so your stuff stays in it.

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    8. All great ideas, but this is a bit if pseudoscience mixed in to reality. There are concentrations of junk, which are a very bad thing(TM), and is very bad for marine life, but they aren’t islands, and the graphic isn’t clear that the shaded patch is where one would expect to have a good chance of finding some plastic waste in the water.

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    9. Talking about plastic bags vs paper, the sad thing is with the trees cut to make ’em and the chemicals that go into it, paper bags are as bad as plastic overall for the environment…

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    10. This doesn’t have to be an indictment of all humanity, it just begs us to recycle. All the lame environmentalism campaigns have made people think recycling is uncool, when in reality it is just a good idea to sort garbage for recovering materials.

      Also, it is an indictment of all humanity.

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    11. @fracked again: u are correct, the shaded area is not quite an island, more of a garbage soup really.

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    12. Reusable bags are the best answer, my wife and I use them, but there is just no option to recycle, pollution won’t cease to raise by choosing paper or plastic, every effort to conserve must be made. Turning our lights off for one hour last month was a nice display of support, yet hardly effective

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    13. I also use a canteen for my water. No more need for plastic bottles, plus they cost serious money if you add up the yearly cost.

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    14. I meant there is no option to recycle locally here in Jacksonville Beach.
      @Dyna-Mole: You know the Keys are a little bit of land and a whole bunch of landfill placed there by the Navy right around WWII right? perhaps there’s money to be made here.

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    15. @joodles: ditto, in holland they tax everything, for our re-usable bags cost 20 cents and the strong good bags cost 50 cents. it does make a difference in it. imo

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    16. forgot to mention. that we have a system that in the store there is a machine you can put your bottles in to recycle and you get a receipt and with that receipt you can purchase stuff in that supermarket. works really great even thou it’s just like 2~5 euro’s.

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    17. Get rid of humanity. Problem solved.

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    18. Bluthdon!

      come on you know where thats from

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    19. @Dyna-Mole: Even “Garbage Soup” is a gross exaggeration. I mean, yeah, pollution is bad… But so is over-exaggerating the problem to try to scare people into drastic measures to cure it. Kinda like the people claiming Hawaii is going to be underwater in a decade due to global warming…

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    20. I also thought the SF plastic bag ban was lame but SF is noticeably less littered as a result. The area I live has major litter issues. People just don’t care so the nice yard I live near needs clean up twice a week because it’s littered with all sorts of stuff (sometimes human feces).

      I remember seeing pictures of the “plastic island” a few years ago. Talk about freaky.

      www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/22/httpeditorialhuffingtonpo_n_108547.html

      www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/19/SS6JS8RH0.DTL&hw=pacific+patch&sn=001&sc=1000

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    21. I have six reusable bags, 2 from each of the grocery stores I visit. I keep them all in my truck and generally only need 2-3 bags per visit.

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    22. Also, are these floating islands totally detrimental or are they being used by sea life? I know NYC has dumped old subway cars in the bay as an artificial reef.

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    23. @nyokki: Those bags can be used in any store, my wife and I have some generic ones she scored from a promotion she was working on.

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    24. I read that, off the coast of Austrailia, the currents have constucted a floating island of “used” prophylactics(rubbers)dense enough to be able to walk across; although, they did not mention who would try such a thing.

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    25. It’s very nice and appropiate that you all are so concerned about plastic bags and wastedisposal. It’s about time that the USA invest into it and finally start to recycle. But that doesn’t change anything about the truth which is simply that these “islands” are nothing more than a myth. Please don’t just believe anything you see on a picture in the internet.

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    26. @Dublin0: LL
      Yes I know that. It’s just the way it worked out. I don’t feel bad taking a Food Lion bag into Martins.

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    27. a natural byproduct of mankind! maybe we can live on them like the islands in Titticaca! the 51st state!

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    28. not to, be to sceptical, but what are the co-ordinates for this . if it exists you should be able to google earth it.

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    29. @Dyna-Mole,
      I agree w/Tiger 42! According to this map, I’m living on a sea of sheep out here in the East Pac.. Just like I don’t believe in Global Warming. Oh, and now they say eggs are good for you!

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    30. @etiii:
      It is not a matter of believing in global warming because it is happening. The question is whether the change is part of the normal cyclic temperture changes in the history of the planet or if it is human induced.

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    31. @chupathingy: Does it matter? What would we do differently if we knew for sure that it was caused by us…or not? The effect is the same, no?

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    32. @nyokki: i think it does matter but nevertheless no matter what happens change should still happen. It depends how you define effect in this situation. if you meant like the results effect then i would say the effect is almost the same. If you meant mental effect i think if people were told it’s a normal cyclic temperature change then people would care-less. not all of course.

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    33. Well, we do know that the excess CO2 in the atmosphere is there because of us, due to measured changes in C14/C12 ratios. Use of fossil fuels have changed those ratios.

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    34. I just think that arguing overmuch about fault rather than cause is counterproductive.

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