Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Where Does Your Trash Go? Hint: There’s No Such Thing as “Away”

A few years ago, a startling discovery was made:

The plastic we so carelessly discard doesn’t benignly vanish. Instead, it has been slowly disrupting the very base of the food chain in our oceans, threatening sea life worldwide.

Ocean currents flow in a somewhat circular motion. At the center of each ocean’s current one can find one or more becalmed rotating patches, called a “gyre,” where objects that float out from beaches, estuaries, and rivers around the world become trapped, creating a toxic whirling stew.

The video below (~7 minutes) shows the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island of man-made waste, in the West Pacific Gyre, and discusses its implications. Since this video was made, similar garbage patches in other Oceans’ gyres have been identified.

A bucket gets filled one drop of water at a time, and a garbage island is built by one piece of litter at a time. Your one piece is as much a part of the problem as my one piece, as the piece that fell out of someone’s car in the store parking lot, and the piece from some kid standing outside the corner store. Every. Single. Piece. Counts.

Every time you look at or touch something made of plastic, remember this video.

Remember that what you do with that plastic will help determine whether our children and grandchildren will live in a world without fish (tuna anyone?) and sea birds.

Picture yourself choosing items that are not made of, wrapped in, encased in, bottled in, or otherwise involved with plastic wherever possible.

You CAN make a difference.

Use reusable shopping bags. Recycle every single plastic object.

Worldwide, countries, towns, cities, states, and provinces have begun the process of banning plastic bags. It’s a great first step. How do you see yourself helping to solve this problem? Picture yourself recycling that soda bottle, and properly disposing of your bottle caps, instead of leaving them to become a deadly meal for a helpless baby bird. Picture yourself buying the cotton socks with the cardboard hang-tag instead of the nylon-blend ones in the plastic bag. Picture yourself picking up that candy wrapper you see skittering across the parking lot as you walk into the store. You will be saving our seas, one piece of plastic at a time.

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