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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Save the World Saturday: Sea of Garbage

In the northern part of the Pacific Ocean floats an unintentional man-made "sculpture" of plastic debris that is literally choking the flora and fauna of the region. It is referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and its size has been described as being anywhere from the size of Texas to the size of the continental United States. The measurement I have heard most frequently is "twice the size of Texas." Whatever its size, that's a lot of garbage. Covering that area, there is more plastic than there is plankton, and, unfortunately, birds and fish that survive on plankton can't always tell the difference until it's too late.

It can be daunting to think about the size and impact of all of this garbage floating on the ocean, and I've heard that they've found a similar patch in the South Pacific as well.
So what do we do?
Well, we've all heard this one before: reduce, recycle, and reuse. It was wise the first time you heard it, and it's just as wise now - if not more so. I'm not really good at doing this myself, so here's a few tips for both of us:
Reduce the number of plastic bottles you go through for water by hooking up a water filter to your home faucet.
Recycle the items you use and look for easily-recyclable items when you shop. It's not easy to do at first, but it can eventually become a habit.
Reuse the items that you can't easily recyclable. Sometimes local artists will use items in their work or schools use them as art supplies in classes. Growing up, I remember opening up three or four margarine containers that were being used as left-over containers before actually finding the margarine. (Eventually, my mom got better at labeling stuff.) This was a habit that my mother had learned from her mother, who I'm sure, learned it from her mother.
In fact, here's an article that looks at some of the rationing practices that took place during World War II, and how some of those same practices can be applied to today's excesses of consumerism that have led to the excesses of pollution and waste.
The last thing I will leave you with today is a visual example of how plastic garbage and nature do not mix:
That plastic ring got stuck on the turtle when it was young,
and its exoskeleton grew around it.

1 comment:

anne said...

Everyone Let's save our World,,,Make it a better and clean place!!! for US and for the FUTURE GENERATION!!!