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Old 19-05-2012, 12:01   #61
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
There is no densest part of the patch. Or if there is, it moves with the season, with the winds, etc. There are eddies -- it's pretty chaotic, and the density is only statistically greater at the "center".

Take a look at the photos I posted way back in this thread. That's what it looks like in the gyre. If all you've seen are the photos put out there by reporters and advocacy groups, then you have no idea of the reality, and all your well-meaning proposals for garbage collection are misguided at best.
I appreciate that we are talking small stuff (as per your photos) but for it to be a "patch" of whatever size that is (rather than spread evenly throughout the Pacific Ocean) then has to congregating somewhere - otherwise it wouldn't be on TV .


Even if the Patch is the size of Texas (or the USA ) some parts of that patch are bound to be denser than others - should not too hard to test for each year. Don't need to be exact .

My plan is to suck out 5% (or whatever) each year, in the densest part if you can find it but failing that anywhere in the patch - everything, plastic bits, fish, plankton, jellyfish, whales, dolphins, whatever is too slow or too dumb to get out of the way .

And carry on doing that for 20 or 50 years, by not sucking out the whole lot in one go (probably never will be possible) the ecosytem has plenty of time to recover and sooner or later the density will decrease. Won't ever end up with 100% clean water - but nothing will ever do that. But if we get back 20 years in time and hold the "problem" there then IMO it is problem solved .....of course the approach of not dumping into the sea in the first place will need to be solved - and will be given time (as and when countries are allowed to develop economically).

If the plastic really is there can be recycled ($$$) and even the by catch (organics) can be processed into stuff that can be fed to animals. or the peasantry . Probably won't be "profitable" in the usual sense, but nonetheless should be money to be made towards covering costs.
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:23   #62
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

"A Modest Proposal" by David Old Jersey (with apologies to Jonathan Swift).

Honestly, I think we should work on stopping it at the source (production, use, and disposal), and clean it up when it hits the beach. We should wait before launching a massive mid-ocean garbage collection program, at least until we understand the details and unintended consequences.
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Old 19-05-2012, 13:35   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott
"A Modest Proposal" by David Old Jersey (with apologies to Jonathan Swift).

Honestly, I think we should work on stopping it at the source (production, use, and disposal), and clean it up when it hits the beach. We should wait before launching a massive mid-ocean garbage collection program, at least until we understand the details and unintended consequences.
I would tend to agree but based on the evidence showing the disastrous long term consequences of the plastics degrading to the point where they interfere with th base of the oceanic food pyramid, the plankton, and the fact that this will go on for generations we need to at the very least be testing and developing a solution to the plastics in the ocean as well as dealing with the issues at the source
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Old 20-05-2012, 05:21   #64
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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how about a strain of gm golden staph bacteria
You mean... like eliminating the problem right at the source level? A bit drastic approach and not what I had in mind, but maybe the only path left?
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Old 20-05-2012, 06:48   #65
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

The problem stems from mans profit at any cost attitude. When I was young we bought soda and beer in heavy glass bottles from the local merchants, All were returned for deposit and reused. A case of red white and blue beer was around $2.50 if you brought your last case of bottles in for deposit. The deposit cost around the same price as the beer. Nowdays people see no problem in spending a dollar for a bottle of flavored sugar water or water where the disposable bottle cost much more than the contents of the bottle then the bottle is thrown away. I carry a backpack to stores to eliminate bags. My garbage is stored in a canvas bag that is emptied directly into dumpsters. I buy mostly at farmers markets in large quantities then can my own goods resulting in very little trash left over. I can reuse the lids over and over. Bottled drinks, paper plates, plastic silverware, and things bought to be thrown away dont come aboard. I typically have about one bag of trash a month and thats mostly canvas scraps from my sewing. This problem wont go away without a major shift in the way the population views their relationship with the planet and its resources and the " If theres money to be made damn the consequences" attitude.
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Old 20-05-2012, 07:09   #66
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
"A Modest Proposal" by David Old Jersey (with apologies to Jonathan Swift).
Lol

The difference of course being that I am serious

But, feeding the plastic to Orphans might be worth investigating
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Old 20-05-2012, 07:23   #67
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
The problem stems from mans profit at any cost attitude. When I was young we bought soda and beer in heavy glass bottles from the local merchants, All were returned for deposit and reused. A case of red white and blue beer was around $2.50 if you brought your last case of bottles in for deposit. The deposit cost around the same price as the beer. Nowdays people see no problem in spending a dollar for a bottle of flavored sugar water or water where the disposable bottle cost much more than the contents of the bottle then the bottle is thrown away. I carry a backpack to stores to eliminate bags. My garbage is stored in a canvas bag that is emptied directly into dumpsters. I buy mostly at farmers markets in large quantities then can my own goods resulting in very little trash left over. I can reuse the lids over and over. Bottled drinks, paper plates, plastic silverware, and things bought to be thrown away dont come aboard. I typically have about one bag of trash a month and thats mostly canvas scraps from my sewing. This problem wont go away without a major shift in the way the population views their relationship with the planet and its resources and the " If theres money to be made damn the consequences" attitude.
The realities can not be better put than this above

As long as we keep pushing non-fossil fuel sources of power, the oil boys will keep finding ways to use the oil.
You really don't think they give a damn--do you?
So fire up your diesel--and steam thru it.
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Old 20-05-2012, 20:08   #68
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

We pay deposits on plastic bottles here. So, they get picked up, even when those that haven't been fully potty-trained cast them off. That's what Governments do. They legislate for the common good after the Commons have dragged them to their task. Increase the bottle deposit to 50 cents and next put a deposit on all plastic and it'll disappear fast.

edit: or at least a high value per lb., as scrap, subsidized by deposit if need be.
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Old 20-05-2012, 20:31   #69
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

Whats really bad is a state like Louisiana, where we pay a refundable deposit on all bottles and cans, but there is very few if any places to return them for the deposit you paid on them !!We have asked every since we moved here from Cali Where do we return the deposit bottles and cans to ??? the stores who collect the deposits wont take them back !! and don't know of any system to do so!! so the answer down here is put them in the trash with everything else !! ( well they do need some hills down here anyway !!LOL) We are sorta Green at least as far as trash and plastic and glass are concerned!! hell ya wrap a dead battery in news paper and the trash man will take it ! down here you never saw so many trash trucks anywhere!! I sure wish they would at least start new system, close to other states and seperate glass and plastic and such it works other places and seems to make for more jobs ect !! Just a little rant LOL
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Old 20-05-2012, 20:56   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappySeagull
We pay deposits on plastic bottles here. So, they get picked up, even when those that haven't been fully potty-trained cast them off. That's what Governments do. They legislate for the common good after the Commons have dragged them to their task. Increase the bottle deposit to 50 cents and next put a deposit on all plastic and it'll disappear fast.

edit: or at least a high value per lb., as scrap, subsidized by deposit if need be.
California has a CRV (CA Redemption Value) too. All stores are requires to take them back too. Even that doesn't stop people (who can afford it) to throw them out. Luckily, there are enough who need the money who go around collecting them.
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Old 20-05-2012, 21:16   #71
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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Agreed.

One possible way might be to introduce a strain of plastic eating bacteria into the area. There are strains of bacteria feeding on crude oil, so with a bit of genetic engineering a strain which decomposes/digests some plastics should be obtainable. This has its own set of problems though and would require great care and forethought. One side effect might make composite boat owners quite unhappy...
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And NO ONE was much happy with that plot line....
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Old 21-05-2012, 23:08   #72
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

Off the wall ideas, but If the plastic could be given a charge (ionized) somehow, it might conglomerate slowly and make it possible to pick up..like static electricity on a balloon...
Or, if there was a prize for the best proven practical idea to collect it.
$$$ works- Pay, say, 50$ for a conglomerated nugget and so on...? The folks from the "Living on $500 a month" thread would be all over it.Me too!
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Old 21-05-2012, 23:55   #73
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

the great thing about evolution is that once there is a substrate available that is capable of being utilised as an energy source something will evolve - probably a microorganism in the case of plastics - to exploit that resource.

there are naturally occuring bacteria that can metabolise hydrocarbons; breaking down plastics is not a giant leap from there.
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Old 22-05-2012, 20:39   #74
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the great thing about evolution is that once there is a substrate available that is capable of being utilised as an energy source something will evolve - probably a microorganism in the case of plastics - to exploit that resource.

there are naturally occuring bacteria that can metabolise hydrocarbons; breaking down plastics is not a giant leap from there.
Evolution will work. I always believed the Earth would be able to deal with the plastic-either by creatures evolving to use it as an energy source or, in the blink of the Earth's eye, to outlast it. I just wonder about humans or all the rest of the creatures.
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Old 22-05-2012, 22:06   #75
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Re: Pacific Garbage Dump

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You mean... like eliminating the problem right at the source level? A bit drastic approach and not what I had in mind, but maybe the only path left?
I believe that option is always on the table for the earth and the being(s) that are running it. Like a sword hanging over us, we never know when the string will break because of the arrogance of our actions.
The more I study our biology and disease, the more I am impressed that we are balancing on one foot on a edge of a cliff, with the wind of change gusting all around us. When did we become so sure that our existence is assured?
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