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Old 20-09-2016, 08:25   #16
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

The name “Pacific Garbage Patch” has led many to believe that this area is a large and continuous patch of easily visible marine debris items such as bottles and other litter —akin to a literal island of trash that should be visible with satellite or aerial photographs. While higher concentrations of litter items can be found in this area, along with other debris such as derelict fishing nets, much of the debris is actually small pieces of floating plastic that are not immediately evident to the naked eye.

The debris is continuously mixed by wind and wave action and widely dispersed both over huge surface areas and throughout the top portion of the water column. It is possible to sail through the “garbage patch” area and see very little or no debris on the water’s surface. It is also difficult to estimate the size of these “patches,” because the borders and content constantly change with ocean currents and winds. Regardless of the exact size, mass, and location of the “garbage patch,” manmade debris does not belong in our oceans and waterways and must be addressed.

https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/patch.html
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:08   #17
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

My last Pacific crossings were two years back. We usually saw some manner of plastic object every ten minutes or less. It wasn't until I was becalmed that the magnitude of the micro bits of plastic sunk in. The sea appeared as covered in multicolored confetti. Not on the surface but within the first fathom. The amount was starltling at the time but I have come to see this as a good thing in hindsight as it means that the bigger pieces are breaking down into their component elements.

While walking on the shore of Canton Atoll we witnessed countless plastic objects such as flip flops, lighters, tampon applicators etc that would literally turn to dust when picked up. The UVs and elements had broken down these objects and my belief that they would be everlasting.

We too ran across an overturned pirog in the Pacific High.

The most interesting (to me) object that we observed was a yellow construction helmet that floated like a boat with a long keel of gooseneck barnicals. It was interesting because even though it was quite rough conditions at the time, the helmet was devoid of water inside. As the helmet climbed the swells it would heel over and empty itself. This gave me hope that taking to our open skiff in the middle of the ocean might be survivable.
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:28   #18
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

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Originally Posted by seasick View Post
[...] It wasn't until I was becalmed that the magnitude of the micro bits of plastic sunk in. The sea appeared as covered in multicolored confetti. Not on the surface but within the first fathom. [...]
Are you sure this was plastic? It may have been, but I've not seen this amount myself, and I've spent days going very slow in the calm center of the gyre region, often looking over the side into the depths to admire the sea life (plankton, jellies, fish, plants, etc).

On one of our trips a fairly green crewmember was complaining about all the floating plastic he was seeing -- bits of it every square meter or so, going out as far as the eye could see. He was actually seeing Velella Velella, or "By the Wind Sailors", a jelly that virtually covers large areas of the ocean:


We had to capture one in a bucket to convince him we weren't sailing through the Garbage Patch
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:36   #19
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

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The message is good, but I dislike it when the evidence is false.
When they have to falsify the evidence in order to make their point, you have to be highly suspicious of the point at all, so I'm not even sure if "the message is good."
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:40   #20
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

Since that last Pacific crossing, I spend the vast majority of my time driving and walking along thirty miles of beach just south of the Columbia River Bar. For exercise, I carry a large garbage sack and pick up plastic. I have seen a significant drop in the amount of plastic washing ashore this past summer. Still, at the highest reaches of the tide there is a significant amount of micro plastic, colorful bits the size of my baby fingernail. I am very familiar with Velella Velella but what I witnessed mid gyre was an alarming accumulation of micro plastic. Like the confetti raining down on Limburg on his return to NYC.
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:44   #21
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

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When they have to falsify the evidence in order to make their point, you have to be highly suspicious of the point at all, so I'm not even sure if "the message is good."
I think the message would be better served if people cruised in the South China Sea. Nets abandoned and littered everywhere, reefs either bleached or damaged by dynamite.

By the time large bodies like the Pacific, Indian or Atlantic are so polluted that amateurs can notice, it would be too late.
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:48   #22
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

It would be interesting to hear the results of Mat Rutherfords efforts.
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Old 20-09-2016, 09:51   #23
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

Here's a couple of articles on the garbage patch and cleaning it up.

Lies You've Been Told About the Pacific Garbage Patch

The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic With a Floating "Ocean Cleanup Array" | Inhabitat - Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Unfortunately it is a human characteristic to often exaggerate to make one's point.

Any walk along a shore will show that there is a lot of plastic littering the world and it just doesn't go away quickly.

One of the issues is that plastic breaks down in smaller pieces, but doesn't resort to its constituent elements. So, a chunk of PVC just gets smaller and never breaks down in to Carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine.
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:20   #24
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

The above is a really good analysis of the various "gyre cleanup" schemes, including the recent Ocean Cleanup Array. I've been sceptical of these methods because of the biological by-catch problems, and this author confirms my assumptions pretty convincingly, as well as pointing out many other probably unsolvable problems with the scheme.

Even more disturbing is to look at the articles previous to this top one (keep reading after you finish the first article), where they go all ga-ga over the amazing Ocean Cleanup Array and it's precocious boy-genius inventor. I am sick and tired of "raising awareness" by wasting time, money, and enthusiasm in doomed, sure-to-fail ventures like this. These are a great way to waste some very good intentions. Unfortunately, this problem isn't amenable to a simple fix, and buying soap in a recycled ocean-plastic bottle (as is described in the article) isn't going to solve anything. Instead, it probably dilutes the needed, effective, efforts to reduce the problem.
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:27   #25
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

The HBO show VICE did an episode on the garbage patch. If half of what they say is true it is pretty depressing. The show is in three parts here is a link to part one.
TOXIC: Garbage Island | VICE | United States
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:29   #26
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

Most of the problem isn't in large pieces of visible plastic, but tiny little bits and pieces floating below the surface.

As mentioned, it never breaks down to component atoms, it just keeps getting smaller and smaller but is just as harmful to marine life if swallowed.

Also Robert Tracinski has about as much scientific credibility as a preschooler and about as much knowledge, based on the times I've seen him do articles/interviews. He either misconstrues and misunderstands facts or outright lies about them.
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Old 20-09-2016, 11:22   #27
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

I was one of 4 who returned a 2015 Transpac boat from Honolulu to San Francisco last summer and there was a considerable effort made to have the returning Transpac racers stop and collect multiple samples regularly as they passed through the Gyre.

I have come to an understanding that plastic does not decompose like paper or other natural materials to be reused by the eco-system. On the contrary,it simply breaks down into ever smaller particles as it is continually agitated within the top two metres of water. I believe the issue is that these micro-particles of plastic will remain in place near the surface for hundreds of years with as-yet-unknown long-term consequences.

Over 1700 nm, we saw virtually no evidence of manmade 'trash' -save for a propane bottle.
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Old 20-09-2016, 11:27   #28
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

Google it and this is an example of the BS Propaganda photos that come up and are hyped on FakeBook all the time...

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Old 20-09-2016, 11:43   #29
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

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Google it and this is an example of the BS Propaganda photos that come up and are hyped on FakeBook all the time...

No one point of view on most any topic holds a monopoly on using exaggeration to propagandize its point of view. Using the propaganda excuse to avoid a thoughtful discussion or action on an important topic is counterproductive. Indeed it is probably worse than the original propaganda.

Yes, some folks have used the Manilla harbor photos to make a point about a bigger issue, conflating the obviously polluted waters of Manilla with the Pacific Gyre, but that does not mean there isn't a problem in either Manilla or the Pacific Gyre. Who here would want to sail into Manilla after seeing those photos? (Not to mention the current Philippine political environment.)

It is easy to deny the existence of a problem because in doing so, a person is relieved of any responsibility of taking action, no matter how small, of addressing the problem.

As individuals sailing in our plastic boats, we cannot solve the plastic pollution problem alone, but we can take simple steps to reduce our consumption of plastic thereby helping to slow the problem's growth. And do our part in cleaning up the mess our predecessor's have left behind.
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Old 20-09-2016, 12:15   #30
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Re: Great Pacific garbage patch

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
When they have to falsify the evidence in order to make their point, you have to be highly suspicious of the point at all, so I'm not even sure if "the message is good."
The best numbers I have seen (from NatGeo, NOAA, and a private foundation) indicate that the majority of the plastic found in the Pacific is <1mm in size. With concentrations of about 2 million pieces per mile^2. bit I honestly have no scale by which to measure that, it's meaningless to me since I have no frame of reference.

The better way I think to visualize this is that in the Pacific Gyre concentrations are six times more plastic than zooplankton by dry weight.
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