World's largest garbage dump?
As reported on in an article in today's Times (of London): "[T]wice the size of Texas and created from six million tonnes of discarded plastic."
The toxic soup of refuse was discovered in 1997 when Charles Moore, an oceanographer, decided to travel through the centre of the North Pacific gyre (a vortex or circular ocean current). Navigators usually avoid oceanic gyres because persistent high-pressure systems � also known as the doldrums � lack the winds and currents to benefit sailors.
Mr Moore found bottle caps, plastic bags and polystyrene floating with tiny plastic chips. Worn down by sunlight and waves, discarded plastic disintegrates into smaller pieces. Suspended under the surface, these tiny fragments are invisible to ships and satellites trying to map the plastic continent, but in subsequent trawls Mr Moore discovered that the chips outnumbered plankton by six to one.
The damage caused by these tiny fragments is more insidious than strangulation, entrapment and choking by larger plastic refuse. The fragments act as sponges for heavy metals and pollutants until mistaken for food by small fish. The toxins then become more concentrated as they move up the food chain through larger fish, birds and marine mammals.
�You can buy certified organic farm produce, but no fishmonger on earth can sell you a certified organic wild-caught fish. This is our legacy,� said Mr Moore.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Mapped
[Via today's Daily Beast Cheat Sheet.]
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