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Large dump of garbage in Pacific Ocean-says alot about us!

Search for Air France Flight 447 Reveals Astonishing Pollution of World's Oceans


NaturalNews) The most alarming piece of news this week emerged when investigators of the doomed Air France flight 447 announced they had found "floating debris" from the plane crash, but it turned out to be only floating trash in the ocean. This is, all by itself, a disturbing commentary on the pollution of the world's oceans: When investigators can't find a plane crash in the ocean because there's already too much trash floating on the surface, we have a problem with pollution.

It's as if they went out to find a plane crash, but ended up discovering that our oceans look like a train wreck. Had they peeked under the surface of the water, they might have found untreated dry cleaning chemicals from a cruise ship, raw feces from a military vessel and tiny bits of plastic that pose an extreme risk to marine life.

With this, air travel investigators learned an important lesson: Just because debris is floating in the ocean doesn't mean a plane crashed there. It could just mean humans are destroying the planet. While 228 passengers sadly died in a tragic air travel accident, we might all die if we don't stop polluting our fragile ecosystems with endless trash.

(If investigators followed the line of debris, of course, it would lead them straight to the nearest port where ocean liners and military ships would be found several thousand pounds lighter due to all the garbage and sewage they dumped in the ocean before anchoring. The U.S. military, in particular, treats the world's oceans like a giant toilet, dumping trash, sewage and dangerous chemicals directly into the waters.)

What's really crashing is much bigger than one plane

Getting back to flight 447, investigators first announced they had "without a doubt" found wreckage from the flight. And what, exactly, had they spotted? A wooden pallet!

Did they think flight 447 was a Wright Brothers airplane? Who spots an intact wooden pallet and concludes they're looking at the wreckage of a modern-day airplane? Did they really think an entire plane (made out of metal) was destroyed, but a fragile wooden pallet somehow emerged from the crash unscathed?

An oil slick was also spotted near the area where the plane went missing, and investigators initially thought that was from the downed Air France flight. But it turns out it was just another random petrochemical slick from a passing ship that dumps toxic liquids into the ocean. Nothing to see here, move along... move along.

Several French submarines are apparently en route to the suspected crash site, where they hope to explore the depths of the ocean floor, looking for clues. While they might not find clues, I can tell you a few things they will find: Old decomposing Coca-Cola cans swaying with the current along the ocean floor, plastic bottle caps bobbing in the water, and ghost town dead zones where there used to be thriving marine ecosystems. This, of course, will be of no interest to them, because these investigators are out to determine what happened to 228 people, not to investigate a crash in marine biodiversity.

Yes, it's important to know what happened to flight 447. The world wants to know whether it was bombed, or shot down, or destroyed by lightning. But while we're looking around the oceans, didn't anybody happen to notice all the floating trash there? And why isn't the mainstream media wondering why our oceans are now so polluted that investigators can't sort out plane crash debris from all the other junk floating on the ocean?

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Good Morning America

Great Pacific Garbage Dump is a graveyard of toxic plastic

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is trapped in an oceanic vortex

Times Online UK
May 2, 2009


Emily Gosden
The mass of plastic debris known as the great Pacific garbage patch accumulates because of an oceanic gyre — a slowly circulating ring of currents. With low winds, relatively weak currents and little land to wash up on, rubbish swept into the North Pacific gyre tends to remain there.

The great Pacific garbage patch consists of two main areas: the Western, which stretches between Japan and Hawaii; and the Eastern, between Hawaii and California — thought to be the most densely polluted.

The patches are connected by a 6,000-mile current where plastic also accumulates. The UN estimates that there are 18,000 pieces of plastic per square km of ocean, but in the North Pacific gyre the average density is much greater — an estimated 334,271 pieces per square kilometre.

About 80 per cent of debris in the oceans is swept out from land, with most of the rubbish thought to originate on the Pacific West Coast of America and East of Asia from where it is carried on the currents to the Pacific patch.

The remaining 20 per cent of rubbish in the oceans is deposited when ships lose their cargo. Famous examples include a shipment of Nike shoes in 1990 and tens of thousands of plastic ducks, which were lost in 1992.

World biggest garbage dump - plastic in the Ocean

Mission to break up Pacific island of rubbish twice the size of Texas

Times Online UK
May 2, 2009


high-seas mission departs from San Francisco next month to map and explore a sinister and shifting 21st-century continent: one twice the size of Texas and created from six million tonnes of discarded plastic.

Scientists and conservationists on the expedition will begin attempts to retrieve and recycle a monument to throwaway living in the middle of the North Pacific.

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.

Because of their tiny size and the scale of the problem, he believes that nothing can be solved at sea. “Trying to clean up the Pacific gyre would bankrupt any country and kill wildlife in the nets as it went.”

In June the 151ft brigantine Kaisei (Japanese for Planet Ocean) will unfurl its sails in San Francisco to try to prove Mr Moore wrong. Project Kaisei’s flagship will be joined by a decommissioned fishing trawler armed with specialised nets.

“The trick is collecting the plastic while minimising the catch of sea life. We can’t catch the tiny pieces. But the net benefit of getting the rest out is very likely to be better than leaving it in,” says Doug Woodring, the leader of the project.

With a crew of 30, the expedition, supported by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Brita, the water company, will use unmanned aircraft and robotic surface explorers to map the extent and depth of the plastic continent while collecting 40 tonnes of the refuse for trial recycling.

“We have a few technologies that can turn thin plastics into diesel fuel. Other technologies are much more hardcore, to deal with the hard plastics,” says Mr Woodring, who hopes to run his vessels on the recycled fuel.

Plastics bags, food wrappers and containers are the second and third most common items in marine debris around the world, according to the Ocean Conservancy, which is based in Washington. The proportion of tiny fragments, known as mermaid’s tears, are less easily quantified.

The UN’s environmental programme estimates that 18,000 pieces of plastic have ended up in every square kilometre of the sea, totalling more than 100 million tonnes. The North Pacific gyre — officially called the northern subtropical convergence zone — is thought to contain the biggest concentration. Ideal conditions for shifting slicks of plastic also exist in the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the North and South Atlantic, but no research vessel has investigated those areas. If this exploratory mission is successful, a bigger fleet will depart in 2010.

Mr Woodring admits that Project Kaisei has limitations. “We won’t be able to clean up the entire ocean. The solution really lies on land. We have to treat plastics in a totally different way, and stop them ever reaching the ocean.”

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Comment by Ellen on August 4, 2010 at 12:08pm
This is bad, bad, bad, our oceans are turning into plastic soup

Scientists previously mapped huge floating trash patches in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but now a husband-wife team researching plastic garbage in the Indian Ocean suggest a new and dire view. "The world's oceans are covered with a thin plastic soup," "There is no island of trash," says Anna Cummins, cofounder of 5 Gyres Institute. "It's a myth." Instead, she says the garbage patches resemble plastic soup or confetti. "We now have a third accumulation zone of plastic pollution that shows compounding evidence that the trash isn't condensed to an island," she says. "It's spread out across the entire gyre from coast to coast."


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