Monday, September 01, 2008

Plastic is forever

Honolulu, HI (AHN) -- Two men have successfully sailed from California to Hawaii in a raft made of plastic bottles and Cessna airplane parts.

Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal built their raft, which they named "Junk," out of 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310 fuselage. The purpose of their journey was to bring attention to the massive amount of plastic floating at sea.

The Northern Pacific Gyre, which has been getting some alternative media attention this year, is an area twice the size of Britain that swirls with tons of plastics used for water bottles, food containers, and various other one-time purposes.

Eriksen and Paschal described to reporters instances during their 2,600 mile journey when they caught a fish to eat, only to find plastic in its stomach when they cut it open.

During the 87 day journey, the two men saw first hand that "plastic is forever, and it's everywhere," as reported Eriksen wrote in his journal at the end of the trip.

He went on to say that he plans to use the voyage as a starting point to create a dialogue about how to deal with the problem of disposable plastics.

This post deserves repeating:
Making a new continent
One plastic bag at a time:

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­ ­In the broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and sailors rarely travel through the gyre. But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic. It's the largest landfill in the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean.

The gyre has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; scientists estimate its size as two times bigger than Texas [source: LA Times]. The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone. Research flights showed that significant amounts of trash also accumulate in the Convergence Zone.
It's the world's biggest landfill and it's in the Pacific Ocean
Before you despair too much, another post mentions the teenage boy who discovered how to decompose plastic bags.


Anonymous said...

You say that Bush has destroyed America, but your prose identifies you as someone who needs an excuse to explain why Obama isn't living up to initial expectations

ellroon said...

Are you referring to this specific article? Because this article is totally non-political.

If you are referring to the general tone of my blog, yes, I do blame the Bush administration for many things.

And my prose is not in search of an excuse for Obama. I was and am totally aware that Obama would disappoint and be much more centrist than I would like. He has so much to fix and so much to change and so little time to do it in.

But I like the man and think Obama is sincere even though he is truly a politician. I don't need to explain Obama. Not one politician alive today could clean up the wreckage that the Bush administration left behind.