Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Island of Trash in the Pacific

A "soup of plastic" (plastic soup, as called in English) of floating waste is growing at an alarming rate in the Pacific Ocean. The total area is really impressive: twice the size of the continental part of United States!

The vast expanse of waste - is indeed the landfill of the world's largest garbage - stays instead spinning due to the underwater currents. It begins about 500 nautical miles off the coast of California and across the North Pacific, reaching beyond Hawaii and even near the coast of Japan.

The "island of garbage" is actually not one, but two. I.e., two areas linked to both sides of the islands of Hawaii, known as Western garbage Island and the island of Eastern garbage.

Charles Moore, American oceanographer who discovered the "great Pacific garbage spot" or "trash Vortex" (another name), are about 100 million tons of flotsam that circulate in the region. He is not a solid surface (such as you would indicate the end of "island") but rather of small plastic particles that may be very small, even microscopic. This occurs because the polymers that make up the plastic materials are disintegrating (separating into smaller elements) but never disappear because the plastic is not biodegradable.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer prestigious, compares the vortex of garbage as a living being, is - according to-as a large animal without strap. When the animal is approaching the Earth (as does it in the archipelago of Hawaii) results are dramatic, since it leaves the beaches covered this "confetti" of plastic.

Garbage comes mainly (80% estimated) off the coast of United States and Japan.  Around of a fifth of the garbage you launch of ships or oil platforms. And according to report those who have traveled the area, the trash includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and shopping bags.
Since the garbage patch is transparent and is located just below the surface of the water, it is not detectable in satellite photographs. Only seen from the bow of the boat.

Activists fighting for the protection of the environment warned that unless consumers reduce the use of disposable plastic, the soup of plastic would double in size over the next decade.

According to the United Nations programme, plastic waste causes the death of an enormous amount of animals: more than one million seabirds each year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomach of dead seabirds, because they confuse them with food.

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