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Old 28-11-2010, 22:14   #46
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I think you're picking on the wrong crowd here. Practically, every sailor I know is trash conscience. If it doesn't sink then it goes into storage for the trash bins in the marinas.

I'm willing to bet that most floating trash comes from land sources, down rivers, street drainage and run off. You should have seen New Orleans after the hurricane, and Malaysia after the tsunami a couple years ago. That would have dumped tons of floating trash in the ocean.

So what do you expect from us?

What the world needs are surface skimmers to go out and cruise the trash slicks just like a kelp harvester. And maybe the plastic container manufacturers should foot the bill since they are the ones who pushed the product upon us to start with.

When I was growing up we use to return our glass soda bottles to be re-used Or glass containers were reused for canning food or made into glass ware after use. And metal cans either rust away or can be recycled with other metals as I do in the machine shop.

Go after the big money people that produce the trash. They are the ones saving the money by it's production and shipping costs.
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:16   #47
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Wow, that video made me want to teach middle school science again. I think we really do need some system for monitoring dumping and exploitation of the ocean. But, who can you trust with that much control. It seems to be too easy to abuse.
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:17   #48
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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
I think you're picking on the wrong crowd here. Practically, every sailor I know is trash conscience. If it doesn't sink then it goes into storage for the trash bins in the marinas.

I'm willing to bet that most floating trash comes from land sources, down rivers, street drainage and run off. You should have seen New Orleans after the hurricane, and Malaysia after the tsunami a couple years ago. That would have dumped tons of floating trash in the ocean.

Go after the big money people that produce the trash. They are the ones saving the money by it's production and shipping costs.
Have you ever watched a cruise ship take out the trash? Yep, big money. But it isn't just big money that makes the difference. Everyone can have an effect.
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:22   #49
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That's encouraging Paul.

I'd love it if it's all a horrid hoax.
I don't think it's a hoax, exactly. There is too much garbage in the sea, and it does collect in certain areas. Some beaches, to be sure, and there probably is a gyre effect. This can't be good for the marine life.

My attempts to observe and quantify the debris are limited to my four Hawaii to San Francisco crossings, where on the last two crossings we took garbage reporting forms as part of a Univ of Hawaii / NOAA study. We tried to follow their reporting protocol, but ultimately is was frustrating and I think pretty useless. There isn't much out there to see, most of the time. Once an hour or so we spotted a floating styrofoam cup, a tangle of net, a loose float, or some unidentifiable debris. The density of the visible stuff was very low.

One thing I did notice was that the visible trash was seen when the water was calm. When things were rough it was impossible to see any of the small stuff. A floating ice-chest yes, anything smaller perhaps not. Under the Pacific High the wind is light, and the sea can look like a mirror. This is where we noticed most of the trash, but I suspect that the trash distribution is broader than that. The Pacific High is often near the gyre, but it the high (or highs) move around a lot.

What I think has happened is that when the mid-ocean garbage was first remarked on, there was some exaggeration (or let's call it unfounded extrapolation). This trash is obviously a bad thing, and in order to get people excited enough to want to do something about it, it may have seemed like a good idea to use a bit of hyperbole.

Recently, the "Trash Island As Big As Texas" has been re-explained to be an area of sub-surface fingernail-sized debris. This is probably closer to the truth, but the density and extent are still largely unknown. This is why I look forward to seeing the results of properly-conducted towed-net surveys.

I believe that the debris is largely land-originated garbage, thrown into rivers, dumped offshore from barges, etc. The amount that is thrown from commercial shipping (or private yachts) is probably insignificant.

The solution is to recycle, properly dispose, and limit the world's use of non-biodegradable materials. The "trash gyre" is merely an indicator of the problem, and it's probably not a particularly good indicator either. There many better ways to witness how we are polluting the planet.

And I have almost completely ignored the main point of the TED presentation that launched my rant, which was (I think) the need for changes to the laws governing the use of the seas. The "Trash Island" just happens to be one of my hot-buttons.
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:26   #50
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Interesting point, but it begs the question, monitored by whom?
Ditto. In my experience governments can't be trusted any more than commercial interests. Its a beautiful world we live in Captain Jack - as long as you don't pay attention to what is really going on. I try not to - It's to d***** depressing.
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:30   #51
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What the world needs are surface skimmers to go out and cruise the trash slicks just like a kelp harvester.
This has been suggested, but I think the by-catch would be orders of magnitude more harmful than the trash might have been. At lease in the vicinity of the gyre, from what I've seen. For every pound of trash, you would collect several tons of jellyfish. Literally.

There are certainly places along the shoreline where debris accumulates and forms "trash slicks", but the mid-ocean stuff isn't like that at all.

By the way, I took a nice hike along the beach near Point Reyes this afternoon. I picked up the few pieces of plastic trash I found and properly disposed of them. Just in case you were wondering about my motivation here...
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:36   #52
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If your skimming trash slicks then how would the by-catch not already be affected?
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Old 28-11-2010, 22:50   #53
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If your skimming trash slicks then how would the by-catch not already be affected?
The "trash slicks" that I'm talking about are low-density debris fields, where the concentration is perhaps one cubic inch of junk per 10,000 cubic yards of water (100 x 100 yards, to one yard depth). This seems to be consistent with the towed-net results, but my interpretation of those could be way off. [Please don't use these numbers for anything important, I'm just wildly guessing, although the truth is probably within an order of magnitude of this.]

The surface waters are full of healthy marine life. It's not a dead-zone by any means. The life there runs from plankton, jellyfish, flying fish and other small fry, tuna, mahi-mahi, dolphins, sharks, whales -- it's teeming with life.

Tow a net through those waters and guess what you're going to catch. It will be a dead-zone once you're done.
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Old 28-11-2010, 23:04   #54
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I think you're picking on the wrong crowd here....
I'm not picking on anybody. You folk are the FRONT LINE of anybody that's going to care or bring back the news to land.

As the bard Dylan writ: "I'd like the change the world, plant a tree on the ocean but, I'm just a guitar player."
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Old 29-11-2010, 02:27   #55
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"Twice the size of Texas" isn't really a catchy name.

I think this new Continent needs a better name.........

My Vote is for DOJ_Land
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Old 29-11-2010, 03:08   #56
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"Twice the size of Texas" isn't really a catchy name.

I think this new Continent needs a better name.........

My Vote is for DOJ_Land
We had a flag all prepared so we could claim the island and start our own nation-state. Didn't find it, so I guess it's still out there ready for you.
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Old 29-11-2010, 03:20   #57
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There isn't much out there to see, most of the time. Once an hour or so we spotted a floating styrofoam cup, a tangle of net, a loose float, or some unidentifiable debris. The density of the visible stuff was very low.
I'm sorry. But seeing something every HOUR by the naked eye while crossing the Pacific OCEAN is A LOT of trash. That is just what you saw on the surface floating while at the helm or winch!
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Old 29-11-2010, 03:43   #58
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Sadly it is a run away train. Does anyone think we can stop or slow down the giant powerhouse of New York City garbage barges dumping millions of tons of garbage into the Ocean weekly? I don't think so. Although I get personal satisfaction when I personally dispose of or limit consumption of garbage while in the US.

I was shocked once I moved to Germany. Germany is light years ahead of the USA in waste management. The problem I believe is private waste management companies in the US or the side effects of capitalism. It is all about profit margins.
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Old 29-11-2010, 06:18   #59
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I seem to recall that all operations outside agreed national territorial waters limits come under the International Maritime Organisation, which is a subshoot of the UN. They would not be the enforcement arm, that would be the purview of the UN Security Council. Illustrations of this can be seen with the IMO resolutions followed bt UNSCRs on piracy.
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Old 29-11-2010, 06:36   #60
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Foremost among a number of international agreements and partnerships that promote enhanced
maritime security cooperation are the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Convention for the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Quoting “Piracy off Somalia: a sketch of the legal framework”
Here ➥ Piracy off Somalia: a sketch of the legal framework « EJIL: Talk!

“... The law applicable to piracy off Somalia is presently a mix of customary law, UN Security Council Resolutions and treaty law. If pirates are captured, questions of national law and international human rights obligations also arise.
In my view, there is no short-term, military “fix” for piracy. It remains to be seen whether recent uses of lethal force against pirates will deter them, or escalate violence against ships and hostages ...”

“... The core of the customary law of piracy, as codified in Articles 101-107 and 110 of the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) is relatively simple. Piracy consists of: (i) any act of violence; (ii) committed for private ends; (iii) on the high seas or in a place beyond the relevant jurisdiction of any State; and (iv) which is committed by one vessel against another. Any State may send a warship to board a pirate vessel, arrest those on board and subject them to the jurisdiction of its courts. Warships may also use reasonable force to that end ...”

“... One of the problems with the current attempt to combat piracy is that though, as a matter of international law, all States have jurisdiction to try pirates, few States have adequate national laws for the prosecution of pirates who have not committed offences against either their nationals or flag vessels. This has lead to some startling results, such as the German navy releasing some captured pirates on the basis that they had no authority to detain them. While UNCLOS requires that States must co-operate to suppress piracy (Art. 100) it only provides that a capturing warship may send pirates for trial before its courts (Art. 105). The inference is that States are under no duty to have adequate national offences for trying pirates and may co-operate in the suppression of piracy by other means (such as “deter and disrupt” patrols). If States are under a positive obligation to have such laws, the majority have been continually in breach since before the 1920s League of Nations codification project ...”

“... The relevant (UN Security Council) resolutions on Somali piracy are 1816, 1838, 1846 and 1851, all containing the talismanic Chapter VII authority to use “all necessary means” to counter piracy. In broad-brush terms, these Resolutions encourage States to develop a cooperative framework to counter piracy in the region as well as granting specific authority to “cooperating States” to enter Somalia’s territorial sea to repress piracy in a manner consistent with the international law applicable on the high seas. 1851 authorises “cooperating States” to go further and engage in counter-piracy action on Somali soil ...”

“... The capturing of pirates is not free from practical, and some consequential legal, difficulties ...”

“... Rather more complicated is what to do with a captured pirate ...”
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