The Pacific Ocean trash dump revisited

November 9, 2009

The Pacific Ocean trash dump revisited A growing trash dump exists in the Pacific Ocean comprised of the detritus from fishing boats and trash washed into the sea from distant land masses.  The trash has been growing yearly and has even become a subject of much study.

As stated in  an article published by Blorge in June, the trash dump is a problem for ships traveling in the Pacific.  In another article it was pointed out that the dump contains four million tons of plastic and is about twice the size of Texas. According to the New York Times this floating trash is thousands of miles from any land mass yet it  contains items that have washed into the ocean from various different cities and countries that border the pacific.

…most of it is caught in what oceanographers call a gyre like this one — an area of heavy currents and slack winds that keep the trash swirling in a giant whirlpool.

Plastic has become the biggest problem because much of it has broken down over time.  The tiny pieces of plastic are “the size of a grain of rice”, small enough to be eaten by fish.  Chemicals, like “PCBs, DDT, and other toxins”  that don’t dissolve in water are soaked up by the plastic.  Those toxic chemicals get ingested by the fish eating the tiny pieces of plastic.    Those fish are eaten by bigger fish that absorb the chemicals from the smaller fish.  Ultimately, the contaminated fish may wind up  on your dinner tables.  We already know how dangerous these chemicals can be when ingested.

Although companies like Envion would like to collect that plastic and turn it into fuel, it isn’t an undertaking that will occur anytime soon.  The plastic is collecting and disintegrating now causing problems that will need to be addressed before any attempt to collect it from the ocean in mass can be put into motion.

Hopefully, the organizations researching the Pacific Ocean dump will be able to generate solutions to the growing problem – sooner rather than later.

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