Thursday, November 22, 2007

WUW - Plastic, Plastic Everywhere and Not a Drop to Decompose, EVER!

Out there in the Pacific Ocean, right now, is an accumulation of plastic garbage the size of Texas, 30 meters deep. It will not, ever, break down into inert organic compounds. Ever. The plastic will photo degrade into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, to be eaten by sea life and eventually end up on your dinner plate. Yum!

Of the 15 billion pounds of plastic the US produces each year just 1 billion is recycled. The rest has a good chance of ending up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You might want to think twice before buying anything made of plastic ever again.

Don't take my word for it, check out these links:

http://www.theiff.org/reef/reef4.html#
http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Ocean/Pacific-Garbage-Patch27oct02.htm

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The word 'ever' is an exaggeration in this post. Everything is recycled eventually, rocks included. I'm fairly sure as well that the plastic will break down closer to instantaneously, on an astronomical scale, than never. I could research these facts, but it doesn't seem worth the time it would take; regardless of who is right, the ocean is kilometers deep on average, 30m of plastic is less than half a percent of the ocean's depth in most cases.

Miranda said...

I would love it if you came here to help me see that this is not a problem. Didn't happen.

Of course plastic will degrade on an astronomical scale. Hell, when our sun goes supernova, the resulting element creating heat and energy will return all plastic to non plastic elements. But I am not concerned with star-time, I am concerned with human-time. For the sake of arguement, let's say that plastic takes 1000 years to degrade. That is 50 human generations. This garbage patch is going to impact my grandchildren to the 50th power. It is a food chain issue. Not only is the plastic killing sealife, it is NOT killing sea life and ending up on our dinner plates, as tiny plastic molecules in the fish we eat that acts as pseudoestrogens in our bodies. As a mother of girls, that concerns me.

30m might only be 1 percent of the total ocean depth, but it is 1/2 to 1/3 the depth where most ocean life (in our food chain) lives. Sunlight only goes down so far.

Take your strawmen elsewhere, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure if you want me to write rebuttals to your rebuttals. I’m sure you can delete the posts if you’re frustrated.
I’d love for you to stay there and help me see that this is a problem compared to…pretty much any form of pollution or disease that comes to mind. I don’t think there exists a form of pollution so removed from the human race, and less proven to exist. (And by proven I don’t mean a single guy on a boat writing is own paycheques and fishing for plastic). Oh; space junk. That has less of an effect than plastic. But in the end, if I gathered the facts right, all you have to do to avoid the hardship is to just stop eating fish? And why ‘as a mother’ and not a member of the human race, does this worry you? And why as a mother of girls? Carcinogens affect men as well. And why do you devote a moment of your life to worrying about something that is so much less likely to have an effect on you than say, heart disease or stroke or, and I’m not even close to joking here, the flu. The flu is proven to kill more people per year by far than ocean plastic.
Also, I’d like to think an average human generation (involving your grandchildren) would span more than 20 years, and I don’t really know what you mean by ‘to the fiftieth power’. I know you’re for exaggeration and all but it’s easier to follow, and then dismiss, when you just say ever ever ever.
Thank you.(Just a little though)

Miranda said...

All I want to do is wake people up to certain things that I think are important. If you are aware of the GPGP and don't see it as a problem, so be it. I don't have the time or energy to change your mind. All I am saying is that I see it as a problem and your comments did not change my mind. In fact, it boggles my mind that you DON'T see it as a problem. Yes, it is only one more form of pollution, among many, and I probably do have a greater chance of dying from the flu than from eating tainted fish, but that's not my point. I'm not afraid of death. I just think we are pissing in our neighbors' yard and it is not right. Not morally or ethically something we should do.

I say as a mother of girls because estrogens, whether psuedo- or phyto- or human produced, run our bodies and the timing of puberty and reproduction, more so than males.

And I choose 20 years for a generation because it is a nice round number, and I did not want to write out great, great, great....great grandchildren fifty times.

But mainly, if you want to see it as no problem, go ahead. Why do you even care if I think it is one? You came to my blog of your own volition. And no one is forcing you to agree with me, especially me.

Anonymous said...

It’s annoying when people use the argument, “you’re on my blog, therefore even if you win, you lose”(It hasn’t been used on me, I’ve just heard the argument before). I happened to view your blog when pressing the random button, and it annoyed me enough to comment. Am I supposed to ignore ignorance because you have good intentions and daughters?
My point isn’t that you’re opinion is crap. My point is that arguments you make are flawed, the proof you cite in backing up your claims is unreliable, and even based on your ‘facts’ the issue isn’t as big as you make it seem. Plastic could kill us all one day, and you’d be right, but you wouldn’t be right based on the fasts you’ve given. You’d be right out of luck. (If I were somehow conclusively killed by anything plastic by the way, it would please me to know you had been informed. I’ll try to make sure it happens).
Also, I was mildly confused by the ‘great’ comment. I assumed you meant your descendants would be affected in a huge way. More huge than the generation before and before, etc, so the whole thing would seem to be put to the exponent fifty. Apparently you mean that your (great)^50 grandchildren would be affected. Which still confuses me because (2)^50 means 1125899906842624. I think you meant your (great)x50 grandchildren [(2)x50=100].
Finally, your message at the end of the original post was that you shouldn’t buy plastic products. But even if all of your claims are right, really, the problem is that people don’t let plastic rot on the ground. So people should just make sure their plastic is going to landfills instead of being dumped in the ocean, then they can buy all the plastic they want. (Or if they don’t trust the landfills, create a compost pile for their plastic.)
Thank you again.

Miranda said...

It's not you win but since you are on my blog, I win. It is let's agree to disagree. We seem to have fundamental different world views. And that's fine with me. I'm not here to convince everyone. That is not worth my time. And I wasn't putting out a lock tight arguement, or even my full and complete line of reasoning. I just offerred something up for exploration and gave my opinion. I expect everyone who reads my blog to do their own research about whatever they read here and come up with their own conclusions. If you disagree with me, fine. Don't waste your time trying to change my mind. Or rather, go ahead and offer what you feel is information that would change my mind, but be prepared for it NOT to change my mind. It does not mean you or I is right and the other wrong. It means we each have different views of an issue and from our viewpoint, we see something one way or another. We can argue "facts" all day and still not change each other's mind. In fact, this whole line of thinking might be the trouble between us. Maybe you think the world is capable of black and white for all and I think it is grey, with my black and white just for me.

Either way, I won't condemn you for buying/using plastic. Hell, I do. I know I got you thinking about it and that is all I care about. Peace.

p.s. I meant great^50. That is, the word great repeated 50 times. I know I was mixing mathematical notation with plain old prose. I hoped people would glean my meaning, but I assumed too much, I guess.

Tara said...

Hahahaha, the blatant cynicism and flat-out crankiness of "anonymous" is hilarious! I guess it was to much to assume someone could understand common sense and comments like "as a mother".

All I have to say is "as a women" ;-) I get your point. It was just one simple example of what we're doing to our earth. Maybe not the biggest or the worst but none the less important. Everything we do, no matter how big or small, has an impact. Unfortunetly not everyone thinks as globally as others do, nor do they seem to care outside their own immediate existence and how things will directly affect only them.

Thanks for keeping us "in the know" Miranda.