July 24, 2008

I have spoken about the plastic problem before, but I don’t think I have address the problem with plastic in the oceans.  I want to point you to some great sites where you can learn all about the growing plastic contamination of our oceans.

JUNK is a raft made of thousands and thousand of plastic bottles.  The bottles are bound together into pontoons that form the flotation for the raft.  It is being sailed from California to Hawaii by two men.  The blog tells of their progress so far.  The reason they are doing it is to bring attention to the plastic trash floating everywhere.

Algalita Marine Research is where you can learn about the Algalita and the North Pacific Gyre.  This summer, the boat went out to document the ‘Texas sized garbage patch’ present in the gyre.  It is actually bigger than Texas.  Check out their site.

A film crew went out this past summer on the Algalita to film what is in the ocean, what the Algalita found, and if the garbage patch was real.  If you want to see what they found, look at Garbage Island. This is their 12 part documentary about the gyre and all the trash there.

What it comes down to is that all our garbage blows out to sea or gets washed there by our rivers.  Anything that can float or be carried by the water eventually ends up in the ocean.  Once there, it just hangs around forever, being broken into smaller and smaller pieces, but never really decomposing because plastic does not decompose.  It breaks down into smaller pieces, but it is still plastic.

What can one individual do?  Until there is an alternative to plastic, the best thing a person can do is dramatically reduce the amount of plastic they use.  Every time you make a choice other than plastic, you are helping reduce how much will eventually be in the environment, hanging out forever.

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