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Old 07-02-2008, 06:59   #1
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Plastic Fantastic

"
The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.
Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex", believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:02   #2
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That's a shame. Things like that (and the touristification of the South Pacific and other things) are why sometimes I get incredibly depressed and frustrated that I'm not going to be able to take off on my boat to fulfill my dream of extended cruising all over the world for another three and a half years. I really envy those who sailed the world's oceans in the first half of the twentieth century.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:38   #3
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What a shame. And it was relatively recently that it became illegal to dump plastic in the oceans. Not that this law is fully complied with. I wonder how the science was done to determine this? Not that I doubt the theory, I am just wondering. Perhaps it is time to start requiring plastic packaging that degrades in a few years? ...and not the type of packaging we get now that frequently sends people to emergency rooms when they have to use serrated knives just to get it open.
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Old 08-02-2008, 14:24   #4
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MMmmm I have seen small areas of junk in the Atlantic but never a large area, more than 10 to 20 feet or so not counting Sargasso week lines.

Have any of you Pacific guys actually seen anything like this?? Don't recall anyone of you Pacific guys ever run across anything like this? Don't think I've ever run across any accounts or noted it being discussed even in the environmental networks.
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Old 08-02-2008, 14:46   #5
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...Have any of you Pacific guys actually seen anything like this?? Don't recall anyone of you Pacific guys ever run across anything like this? Don't think I've ever run across any accounts or noted it being discussed even in the environmental networks.
I guess you must have somehow just missed this well-known phenomenon.

Charles Moore (r/v ‘Alguita’) has been investigating the concentration of floating plastic debris, known as the great pacific garbage patch, which is located in the North Pacific Gyre. When it was sampled in 2001, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch yielded six pounds (three kilograms) of plastic, for every pound (half kilogram) of plankton in the water.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch ~ by Charles Moore
http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Ocean/Pacific-Garbage-Patch27oct02.htm
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Old 08-02-2008, 14:52   #6
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Let's just say when I here stuff like this I am very skeptical. Behind these claims there is usually some Liberal envioronmental propagantist organization with a half-cocked agenda
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Old 08-02-2008, 15:33   #7
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Politicizing it won't make it go away... or quit growing....
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Old 08-02-2008, 16:29   #8
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100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region
I did a little math, follow me here:

8 empty 2 liter plastic soda bottles = 1 pound
16,000 bottles = 1 ton
100,000,000 x 16,000 = 1,600,000,000,000 bottles

Thats 1 Trillion, 600 Billion soda bottles floating out there. Holy SH** ! I think I will crack another beer and worry about something else .
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Old 08-02-2008, 17:14   #9
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Well, first of all this is not bottles. This is dunnage from cargo, nets, ropes, etc. But I'm sure there are some bottles out there too.

I know this kind of thing is easy to ignore. Especially when it is way out there on the ocean. But frankly out of all the things that are supposed to be dangerous to cruisers and cruising boats we really need to consider this one. None of us may be sailing through the trash pile any time soon but that plastic baggie, net or rope wrapped around the prop or sucked into the raw water intake is likely to be a bigger risk to a happy sail than being washed up on a beach in a hurricane.
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Old 08-02-2008, 17:55   #10
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I once sailed on the Cunard Princess cruise ship in the Caribbean more than twenty years ago. We left Saint Thomas at night bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico, and of course the massive cruise ship sailed in circles for hours in the dark before heading toward Puerto Rico in earnest.

While we were sailing in circles in the Caribbean, I went on deck at about 11 pm and looked down at the sea. I was amazed to see the crew throwing large black garbage bags into the sea for about ten or fifteen minutes as I watched them. There were dozens of giant black garbage bags tossed into the water and floating behind the cruise ship leaving a trail of black bags in its wake.

I suspect that cruise ships don't do this any longer.

When we were in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, we hiked on the windward side of the atolls, and we were again amazed at the tons of plastic debris washing up on the beach. The atolls were like a giant net catching the plastic garbage of the world. The most frequent piece of rubbish was flip flops. We even found some peforated sheets of rubber from which flips flops had been cut by a giant flip flop cookie cutter machine.
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Old 08-02-2008, 18:29   #11
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Maybe we can harvest it all some day (drift net) and turn it into a recycled product. We could call it seapoly. With all that plastic one could make a profit.

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When we were in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, we hiked on the windward side of the atolls, and we were again amazed at the tons of plastic debris washing up on the beach. The atolls were like a giant net catching the plastic garbage of the world. The most frequent piece of rubbish was flip flops. We even found some peforated sheets of rubber from which flips flops had been cut by a giant flip flop cookie cutter machine.
It seems apparent that a manufacture had been dumping their rems into the ocean. China I'll bet!
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Old 08-02-2008, 18:33   #12
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Trashed: Across the Pacific Ocean, Plastics, Plastics, Everywhere CHARLES MOORE / Natural History v.112, n.9, Nov03

Supposedly his article reprinted from Natural History magazine, a generally reputable source.

With that much plastic floating in one place, I'd be surprised if the Chinese didn't send out a trawler-mining ship to collect it all and make good use of it.
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Old 08-02-2008, 18:37   #13
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Ok I have an Idea see if this could work:

The market price for recycled plastic is about 280 dollars per ton.

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100 million tons of flotsam
100 million tons x 280 dollars = 28,000,000,000 dollars (thats 28 billion dollars).

Shhh don't tell to many people this could make us rich . But we will need the help from a few of the smarter guys here like Wheels, Gord and ssullivan.
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Old 08-02-2008, 19:01   #14
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Damn !! delmarrey you beat me to the idea. I guess I will have to give you a piece of the action.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:44   #15
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Ok I have an Idea see if this could work:

The market price for recycled plastic is about 280 dollars per ton.

100 million tons x 280 dollars = 28,000,000,000 dollars (thats 28 billion dollars).

Shhh don't tell to many people this could make us rich . But we will need the help from a few of the smarter guys here like Wheels, Gord and ssullivan.
Maybe this is what the new Cat is really for?
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