6.19.2007

Another Climate Crisis



A six-to-one plastic to plankton ratio in our ocean is something that seems surreal but is sadly a reality we have created:

In 2002 [Charles Moore] was startled to discover a six-to-one plastic to plankton ratio in the eastern garbage patch: six pieces of plastic to every piece of zooplankton. This past November he was alarmed even more, finding that 600 miles outside the center of the garbage patch, ocean water samples contained a three-to-one plastic to plankton ratio.

We haven’t yet had a plastic-free sample from anywhere in the Pacific Ocean.


According to Mr. Moore's findings about 80% of the plastic comes from humans on land and of that 90% is household pollution. That means that the majority of this plastic filling our oceans is basically litter.

Baby Laysan albatross of Midway Atoll are literally starving to death. Their carcasses litter the beaches, stomachs bursting with plastic bottle caps, cigarette lighters and other recognizable plastic debris. Jellyfish, which thrive on plankton, ingest tiny bits of plastic along with their food.

Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer [founder of Beachcombers Alert] has proposed the thesis that all the food in the ocean contains plastic. That’s the alarming possibility.


Very alarming.

3 comments:

  1. It IS alarming. I keep hoping someone will publish a satellite photo of the huge trash vortex in the mid-Pacific that's reputed to be as large as the state of Texas.

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium, where I work, is telling story of plastics and albatross with the aid of the only captive albatross in the world -- an injured and unreleasable Laysan albatross who's part of a daily public program. There's a neat story in the June 21 San Francisco Chronicle, and on the aquarium's own website:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/21/BAG5JQIMD584.DTL&hw=albatross&sn=001&sc=1000

    http://www.mbayaq.org/aa/pressroom/web/PressRelease_view.aspx?enc=3Brr9qgDJ7s=

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  2. sphinx8:38 AM

    OMG. This is the most depressing thing I've read all day. What in the world can we do? Mother Earth is dying while human beings continue to kill her and each other. Ugh.

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  3. Yeah, it really is one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time as well. The good thing is now I'm totally paranoid about my consumption of plastics and have become much more aware of how wasteful I was. Let's just hope this message spreads and more people take notice of thier own effects on the environment.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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