The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

With the first of the debris of the tsunami arriving on our shores here in Alaska and all along the west coast, we are reminded of the impact of trash and our environment. I am no tree-hugging greenpeace fanatic by any stretch of the imagination but I do know what we waste is not always forgotten.

Take the great Pacfic garbage patch for example. It is just an example that many of us either don’t care or we are uneducated on the effects that we as mere humans and doing to our Mother Earth.

Check out these facts:

  • Discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore [Observer 8 Aug 10]
  • 2008: 45 kilos of trash per kilo of plankton [Observer 8 Aug 10]
  • The floating dump covers an area one and a half time the size of the USA [Observer 8 Aug 10]
  • Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans [L.A. Times 2 Aug 06]
  • Every square kilometre of ocean hosts roughly 120,000 pieces of floating plastic [UN]
  • The world produced 300 billion pounds of plastic each year, about 10% ends up in the ocean, 70% of which eventually sinks [GreenPeace]
  • It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement. [Greenpeace]
  • 80 percent of ocean trash originates on land [L.A. Times 2 Aug 06]
  • The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California (two times bigger than Texas)
  • The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii
  • Plastic does not biodegrade, no natural process can break it down
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