Thursday, March 22, 2018

We Knew it Was Bad But Sixteen Times Worse Than We Had Thought? How Do You Even Get Your Head Around That?

There's a lot more man-made garbage afloat in the Pacific Ocean than we had thought. Sixteen times more. A patch twice the size of France.

The sprawling patch of detritus – spanning 1.6m sq km, (617,763 sq miles) more than twice the size of France – contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic, new research published in Nature has found. This mass of waste is up to 16 times larger than previous estimates and provides a sobering challenge to a team that will start an ambitious attempt to clean up the vast swath of the Pacific this summer. 
The analysis, conducted by boat and air surveys taken over two years, found that pollution in the so-called Great Pacific garbage patch is almost exclusively plastic and is “increasing exponentially”. Microplastics, measuring less than 0.5cm (0.2in), make up the bulk of the estimated 1.8tn pieces floating in the garbage patch, which is kept in rough formation by a swirling ocean gyre.


Lorne said...

I saw in the paper today that Starbuck's is open-sourcing a search for a fully compostable cup, Mound. The lining of cups has plastic. Guess it never occurred to them they could make headway if they served in-house customers with ceramic cups, eh?

The Mound of Sound said...

Hell, meet Handbasket.

Toby said...

I have an hard time getting my head around that. There must be an awful lot of direct dumping into the oceans. I know that what is in a Calgary landfill will eventually wind up in the oceans but that should take hundreds, even thousands of years. What is happening is almost instantaneous. Is New York still sending garbage scows into the Atlantic? Is Victoria still dumping sewage into the Pacific? Are ships at sea still dumping anything and everything as far from shore as to believe no one is watching?