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Old 15-04-2010, 11:13   #1
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Garbage Patch in Atlantic Ocean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Researchers are warning of a new blight on the ocean: a swirl of confetti-like plastic debris stretching over thousands of square miles (kilometers) in a remote expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

A 2nd garbage patch: Plastic soup seen in Atlantic - Yahoo! News

What can cruisers do to help?
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Old 15-04-2010, 11:47   #2
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The short answer: Nothing.

This is simply fear-mongering and hysterical reporting, nothing more. The Pacific garbage patch doesn't really exist, and I'm certain this one doesn't either. Or at least, it doesn't exist as folks would have you think. All that's going on is that there is a higher concentration of (really really really small) bits of plastic in some parts of the ocean than others. You wouldn't notice it if you didn't take samples and analyze for it. So don't lose any sleep over it.

The Skeptoid podcast did an episode on this a little while back. It's a good listen:

http://skeptoid.com/audio/skeptoid-4132.mp3


That's not to say that we should go around throwing plastic overboard or anything. Be polite to the ocean and dispose of your garbage and wastes properly.

That is all. Carry on, then!


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Old 15-04-2010, 12:36   #3
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You wouldn't notice it if you didn't take samples and analyze for it. So don't lose any sleep over it.
Oh I see. Bit like that CO2 myth. Guess that's fine then. Go back to bed Greenpeace
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Old 15-04-2010, 12:39   #4
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The Sargasso Sea - at just off center of the North Atlantic Gyre for centuries has been the collection area for trash, floating plants, etc. This is nothing new. However the article mentions the shorelines of the Azores littered with trash. This is also nothing new as most all islands in the Atlantic and especially the Caribbean Basin has mounds of trash/debris up to a meter high just above the high tide line. Only if the locals make an effort to remove these mounds of trash will you not see them.
- - It is important when sailing to stay alert for "lines of trash/debris" stretching miles along and offshore. Once when heading north to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe I encountered several miles offshore a distinct 10 meter wide arc of trash and debris that was the leading edge of distinctly flourescent green sea water. I diverted out to sea to go around this strange occurrence. When I got to P-A-P I asked and the locals said that the heavy rains along with a broken storage tank of green dye at a textile factory was responsible. All the dye and trash washed down the river into the sea.
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Old 15-04-2010, 13:08   #5
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The short answer: Nothing.
This is simply fear-mongering and hysterical reporting, nothing more. The Pacific garbage patch doesn't really exist,
Right answer; not much, beyond, leave a clean wake...

However, the Pacific Garbage Patch DOES exist.
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Old 15-04-2010, 13:10   #6
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To ignore the garbage patches of the world's oceans is to put your head in the proverbial sand and ignore what is happening. (Skeptoids and Sarah Palin aside, most intelligent folks recognize documented, supported research.) Only Monday of this week I got to hear a presentation by Charles Moore at the University of Idaho regarding his research on the N. Pacific gyre where the most dense garbage patch exists. Current research has proven that in large areas, zooplankton biomass is exceeded by plastic biomass. The fact that it is "confetti-size" is of greater concern than if it were larger. I am an aquatic ecologist and recognize the potential to interrupt the mid-ocean food chain should concern every living person on the planet, period.

Short of providing peer-reviewed literature citations, I suggest to visit www.algalita.org to learn more. This is a very real threat, not fear-mongering.

Just so you know, because you probably do not, one genus of small fishes that are finger size, make up over 50% of the fish biomass worldwide. As such they are one of the most critical links in mid-ocean food chain....and they are ingesting and dying from these small bits of waste in increasing numbers.
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Old 15-04-2010, 13:13   #7
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However, the Pacific Garbage Patch DOES exist.
Well perhaps it exists but apparently it's just hysterical attention-seeking. Carry on! As it were
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Old 15-04-2010, 13:20   #8
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Well perhaps it exists but apparently it's just hysterical attention-seeking. Carry on! As it were
WRONG - the "Pacific Gabage Patch" is well documented to be of significant comncern !

There has been research conducted and published on marine debris in the Atlantic, mainly on ingestion in Atlantic species of sea turtles and seabirds or on nearshore trawls for plastic particles. There have also been anecdotal reports of debris concentrations in areas such as the Sargasso Sea.

Still, there is a paucity of published literature on marine debris in the high-seas Atlantic Ocean. Much like in the Pacific, there is a North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre made up of four major currents – North Equatorial, Gulf Stream, North Atlantic, and Canary Current. There is also a North Atlantic Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ); however, while it has been predicted to concentrate debris I currently know of no peer-reviewed published research on debris concentration within this STCZ or of the existence of a notable “garbage patch”.

CO2 myth? Go back to bed idpnd.
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Old 15-04-2010, 14:08   #9
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As a 65 yr old Bermudian, I can tell you that when the Suez canal was closed, and the tankers took the west coast of Africa route, the tar and oil pollution on our beaches was terrible. Mixed with Sargasso weed, basketball size lumps were not unusual.
Re-open Suez--no more tar.
Any garbage, is too much garbage.
It is surprising what washes up on the shore. I have collected a considerable number of metal fish net floats.
I did learn back then that mayonnaise is a better dissolver of tar than Lestoil.
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Old 15-04-2010, 17:15   #10
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what plastic?

and cigarette smoking doesn't cause cancer and there is no such thing as global warming. go back to bed and sleep well. if there is a problem your children and grandchildren can surly deal with it.
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Old 15-04-2010, 17:29   #11
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Would have thought that someone (Greenpeace?) would see an opportunity to harvest all this free plastic that is handily floating in a couple of areas and recycle it........to cash.
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Old 15-04-2010, 17:45   #12
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I don't think we have reached the point where plastic can actually make money for those trying to clean it up. I wish it would. Maybe it the price of oil goes up again....
BTW- has any of our cruisers actually seen this huge floating trash pile? I would be interested in their first hand accounts.
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Old 15-04-2010, 18:42   #13
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Each year on our passage from Tortola to Bermuda and then to the Chesapeake, we pass through Sargasso contaminated with garbage. Currents cause the sargasso and trash to accumulate - nothing new here.
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Old 15-04-2010, 20:02   #14
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Its not just in one or two patches, its all over the oceans. Many cruisers comment on the plastic in the oceans. I was amazed at garbage on the east shore of Cozumel 15 years ago. I bet its much worse now.

Roz Savage comments on it all the time but then she is down close to the water and moving slow, so she gets to see it.

Roz Savage, Ocean Rower
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Old 16-04-2010, 10:37   #15
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DeepFrz - I'm glad you mentioned Roz Savage, the plastic pollution in the world is one of the reasons she is rowing across the Pacific.

Hopefully further documentation and reporting on these blights to our world will open people's eyes.

With 6 billion + people on the planet I'm not sure that we are going to stop producing garbage anytime though, I wonder how much more the world can take. Even if everyone in the US stopped using plastic we are still just a drop in the bucket compared to rising economies like India and China.

"Currents cause the sargasso and trash to accumulate - nothing new here. "

Nothing new, but with more and more trash accumulating at some point we are going to reach the breaking point.
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