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Old 10-04-2012, 13:29   #16
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
Where did this plankton develop before the plastic got there?
I don't know. What difference does it make? Fish and plankton are well known to hang around masses of floating grass, so it makes sense that they would be hanging around the floating plastic.

Regardless, it is a good thing that someone thought to look into what sort of sea life might be hanging around the floating plastic. It is a good thing that they discovered that there are plankton there. It is a good thing that they are taking their time and trying to understand all of the consequences of just arbitrarily scooping up all of that plastic. Perhaps, as they look into it further, they will discover that there is not as much plankton there as they thought, or they will figure out a way to scoop up the plastic and leave the plankton behind.

The point is, blindly rushing into the first simple solution that someone dreams up, without really thinking it through completely, would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. It is exactly that sort of short-sightedness that got us into this situation in the first place. Let's try to STOP repeating the mistakes of the past!
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Old 10-04-2012, 14:00   #17
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I don't know. What difference does it make? Fish and plankton are well known to hang around masses of floating grass, so it makes sense that they would be hanging around the floating plastic.

Regardless, it is a good thing that someone thought to look into what sort of sea life might be hanging around the floating plastic. It is a good thing that they discovered that there are plankton there. It is a good thing that they are taking their time and trying to understand all of the consequences of just arbitrarily scooping up all of that plastic. Perhaps, as they look into it further, they will discover that there is not as much plankton there as they thought, or they will figure out a way to scoop up the plastic and leave the plankton behind.

The point is, blindly rushing into the first simple solution that someone dreams up, without really thinking it through completely, would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. It is exactly that sort of short-sightedness that got us into this situation in the first place. Let's try to STOP repeating the mistakes of the past!
Blindly rushing into the first simple solution.....?
One of the best days I ever spent was at a gathering called "Involvement Day" I believe it was 1976? Seattle, Wash. Jaques Cousteau (sp)and several scientists from around the globe were talking about this very same situation back then......Let's see, thats 36 years if I'm not mistaken! I made a tape of this event and I still play it once in awhile to people who think this and other subjects such as global warming, over population, pollution, over fishing, etc, etc, etc. are 'recent events', 'new news', etc.
The sad fact is that nobody gives a damn -or when they do, it's a little late!
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Old 10-04-2012, 16:24   #18
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I don't know. What difference does it make? Fish and plankton are well known to hang around masses of floating grass, so it makes sense that they would be hanging around the floating plastic.

Regardless, it is a good thing that someone thought to look into what sort of sea life might be hanging around the floating plastic. It is a good thing that they discovered that there are plankton there. It is a good thing that they are taking their time and trying to understand all of the consequences of just arbitrarily scooping up all of that plastic. Perhaps, as they look into it further, they will discover that there is not as much plankton there as they thought, or they will figure out a way to scoop up the plastic and leave the plankton behind.

The point is, blindly rushing into the first simple solution that someone dreams up, without really thinking it through completely, would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. It is exactly that sort of short-sightedness that got us into this situation in the first place. Let's try to STOP repeating the mistakes of the past!
Didn't meen to sound sarcastic.
Living in Bermuda, we are constantly exposed to info about the importance of Sargassum weed and the habitat it provides.
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Old 10-04-2012, 17:07   #19
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Re: pacific garbage dump

We need to first reduce our consumption of plastic goods otherwise it is just a forever ongoing process of playing catch up. Yes I buy plastic stuff too, but in very limited amounts. I try to watch my purchases and consider the environment when I buy something.

There should be a huge recovery tax added to every plastic product made.
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Old 10-04-2012, 20:51   #20
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Re: pacific garbage dump

In a perfect world a recovery tax on plastic and other things like batteries etc would be good.

In the real world, the politicians stuff it into their pet projects or in their pockets.

For example, the USA Social Security Fund got plundered back in the '60's.
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Old 16-05-2012, 22:07   #21
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Re: pacific garbage dump

How does one sail from the Portland Oregon to Hawaii? Is there a possibility of colliding with this garbage? Dumb question probably, but I am planning that trip this summer and am curious what others have and are experiencing. Do we sail south to San Diego then over to avoid the gyre. I remember Cousteau and Calypso in the 70's arguing about polluting the oceans, loss of marine life and habitats. What hath god wrought? Sad.
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Old 16-05-2012, 22:14   #22
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I don't know. What difference does it make? Fish and plankton are well known to hang around masses of floating grass, so it makes sense that they would be hanging around the floating plastic.

Regardless, it is a good thing that someone thought to look into what sort of sea life might be hanging around the floating plastic. It is a good thing that they discovered that there are plankton there. It is a good thing that they are taking their time and trying to understand all of the consequences of just arbitrarily scooping up all of that plastic. Perhaps, as they look into it further, they will discover that there is not as much plankton there as they thought, or they will figure out a way to scoop up the plastic and leave the plankton behind.

The point is, blindly rushing into the first simple solution that someone dreams up, without really thinking it through completely, would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. It is exactly that sort of short-sightedness that got us into this situation in the first place. Let's try to STOP repeating the mistakes of the past!
The problem is always how this problem affects mankind. Yes, we throw it out there and worry about what happens when it comes back. One of the things that is interesting that the researchers at places like Scripps are saying is that the ocean life is eating the plastic and digesting chemicals that will be harmful to us when we in turn digest them. catch 22
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:31   #23
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Originally Posted by gpshephe View Post
How does one sail from the Portland Oregon to Hawaii? Is there a possibility of colliding with this garbage? Dumb question probably, but I am planning that trip this summer and am curious what others have and are experiencing. Do we sail south to San Diego then over to avoid the gyre. I remember Cousteau and Calypso in the 70's arguing about polluting the oceans, loss of marine life and habitats. What hath god wrought? Sad.
Regardless of the trash, you're going to want to sail south before you turn west for Hawaii. Look at the typical tracks from the Vic-Maui, or the Pacific Cup races. Head SW until roughly the latitude of San Diego, then point to Hawaii (this is the typical route, but it all depends on the configuration of the Pacific High). For what it's worth, here are my tracks to and from Hawaii, from my previous passages:


I also show the rhumbline and the great circle. In 2010 our route to Hawaii actually took us north of the great circle (the Pacific High was very strange, and there were low-pressure systems to the south that had shut down the normal trades). You're leaving from Oregon, but you still have to get south of the Pacific High's SE ridge before you turn towards Hawaii (unless you plan to motor a lot).

This summer the thinking is that there won't be much Japanese tsunami debris on the typical to-Hawaii route, but those sailing back to the mainland and taking the "over the top of the Pacific High" route may see more than the usual amount of junk.

As you can see, we have sailed through the Gyre area several times, and in my experience there isn't a huge amount of dangerous debris. On the typical to-Hawaii route there is even less, but there are always random floating objects out there. You want to keep your eyes open when you can, and trust in your boat (and statistics) when you can't.
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:40   #24
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Re: pacific garbage dump

NOAA is not the party responsible for cleaning up the worlds oceans. There is no responsible party.

Given that, wouldn't it make sense for privately funded environmental organizations to put together a fleet of ships to clean up the mess? Perhaps some of the world's billionaires and Hollywood elites could fund this? But keep in mind that ships that can carry tons of plastic also burn tons of fuel.

Or just wait until it blows ashore and let Earth Day beach cleanup crews do the dirty work.
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:43   #25
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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Anyone have any bright ideas on how to clean up this mess?
How about a fleet of LST's with conveyor belt ramps pulling the junk up the ramp inside the ship to a collection point with a giant trash compactor?
We could probably get a grant to finance this endevour - what do you think?
I wonder how long it would take to clean up a garbage dump the size of Texas?
that's what I was thinking, big ship with a collector on the front. Let the plastics industry pay for it.! If they had a corporate conscience they would already be getting together to do it.
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Old 17-05-2012, 11:00   #26
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Re: pacific garbage dump

People who are envisioning big collector ships using scoops or nets should really have a look at the type of debris that's actually out there. The "raising awareness" photos of people kayaking through garbage piles have no bearing on the reality of the situation.


NOT THE PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH




WHAT YOU REALLY SEE

There is trash -- mostly plastic -- but it is widely dispersed and floating under the surface. If you tow nets or use scoops you will collect a huge amount of living "by-catch", which is OK if you really want a desert out there.

It would be convenient if you could just collect the junk with a pitchfork, but this is not the case.

This summer my crew includes a couple of people from the NOAA Marine Debris Survey project who will be taking samples as we return to the mainland from Hawaii. It should be interesting.
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Old 17-05-2012, 14:48   #27
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Re: pacific garbage dump

Paul, Thanks so much for the answer. Exactly what I was looking for. And thanks for the mention of the Vic-Maui, it is coinciding with my timing. No, I'm not joining, but would be nice to watch them as they go screaming by. Haha
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Old 17-05-2012, 20:47   #28
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Originally Posted by Cheechako
that's what I was thinking, big ship with a collector on the front. Let the plastics industry pay for it.! If they had a corporate conscience they would already be getting together to do it.

I wish we could! If we could only get the large stuff before it breaks down into small or tiny pieces. This website shows the complexity of removal.

http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/01...-plastic-soup/

I agree that the plastics industry should pay a share but it seemed like a good idea at the time-then it was everywhere! It's cheap and can be made into everything. I really try to not buy plastic or recycle the bit I do buy (use SS water bottles and reuse those I do get). I'm a science teacher so I show the Human Footprint video. It's horrifying how much we use in our lifetime. I hope they all reduce what they buy and reuse and recycle what they do buy. We need to change our wastefulness.
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Old 18-05-2012, 07:01   #29
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Re: pacific garbage dump

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...it seemed like a good idea at the time
Exactly the problem. We humans look for quick and easy solutions that "seem" like a good idea at the time.

Hmmm. We've got all this trash, why don't we just dump it in the ocean! It will sink to the bottom where it won't bother anyone, and after all, the oceans are so huge...

Except that didn't quite work out. But no one bothered to take the time to really think it through, and look for possible unintended consequences, before they went ahead and started dumping.

So, again, let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Before we send ships out with big nets to just (seems like a good idea!) scoop up all of the garbage, let's take the time to look at what the negative consequences of that might be.
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Old 18-05-2012, 07:15   #30
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It's my understanding that the average size of the plastic pieces, is the size of a fingernail. Thats going to be very hard to collect. I believe the plastic will also be very brittle, further complicating things.
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