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Old 20-09-2015, 16:46   #1
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Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

When I was on a sailboat sailing from Hawaii to California, and about 1,500 miles from land, or "in the middle of the ocean" we spent days sailing through the Pacific Gyre where plastic trash accumulates. The most common thing I saw, and I saw hundreds of them, were the common plastic bags (grocery bags) floating on the surface. It was disgusting and shocking to see so many. Such a simple thing to change from these to reusable bags.

So, when I saw the following article, it reminded me of seeing all those plastic bags, floating across miles and miles of ocean.

I think the ban is a good idea.

Hawaii Just Became The First State To Ban Plastic Bags At Grocery Checkouts
As of Wednesday, grocery stores across the entire state of Hawaii are banned from distributing plastic bags.

The City and County of Honolulu -- which covers the entirety of Oahu, Hawaii's most populated island -- is now enforcing a ban that prohibits stores from handing plastic bags to customers at checkout, making Oahu the last populated island in the state to give the bags the boot.
Hawaii Just Became The First State To Ban Plastic Bags At Grocery Checkouts
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Old 20-09-2015, 18:26   #2
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Plastic bags are very thin and disintegrate quickly in the sunlight, so I have never seen them floating in the Pacific Gyre. The problems with the plastic bags in the ocean are that turtles mistake them for jellyfish and that the distintegrated plastic (which is too small to see) breaks down very slowly.

The garbage I saw in the Gyre before the Japanese tsunami was much thicker, like fishing lines/nets/floats, flip-flops, buckets/baskets and drink bottles. I have heard that the amount has been doubled by the tsunami debris.
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Old 20-09-2015, 18:34   #3
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

I think we need to ban all plastic for packaging/bags that does not degrade in sunlight within 3-6 months. Where is the foresight in making this stuff.
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Old 20-09-2015, 18:34   #4
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

...

FAST PLASTIC BAG FACTS
• Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide (Earth Policy Institute). Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News.
• About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world (Earth Policy Institute).
• Approximately 32 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually, representing 12.7% of total municipal solid waste (Environmental Protection Agency).
• Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
• The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year (Natural Resources Defense Council).
• Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil per year to manufacture. (The Wall Street Journal).

WHY ARE PLASTIC BAGS BAD?
• Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it (United Nations Environment Programme).
• A single plastic bag can take up 500 years or more to degrade (Measuring biodegradability, ScienceLearn.org).
• In good circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade. In less ideal circumstances (landfills or as general refuse), a bag will take more than 500 years to degrade (ScienceLearn.org).

....

More on Facts About the Plastic Bag Pandemic | Blog | reuseit.com and several other sources.

Plastic bags are a real problem ...

Carsten
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Old 21-09-2015, 10:43   #5
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Seeing all the plastic bags (which do look like jellyfish on the surface) I did, made me disgusted with human garbage or trash in the environment and specifically the ocean. Some things one expects to see at sea, such as fishing floats, etc. But typical "shopping" bags?

While on that voyage I made a commitment then to not dispose of plastic like that and began recycling plastics and continue to recycle them today, including taking all of my plastic shopping bags to a special recycling center as separate items. I also use reusable shopping bags (made of fabric) that I bought for the purpose. Here in Texas, some progressive cities (Austin) have made the move to banning those plastic bags.
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Old 21-09-2015, 11:39   #6
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
...

FAST PLASTIC BAG FACTS
• Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide (Earth Policy Institute). Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News.
• About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world (Earth Policy Institute).
• Approximately 32 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually, representing 12.7% of total municipal solid waste (Environmental Protection Agency).
• Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
• The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year (Natural Resources Defense Council).
• Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil per year to manufacture. (The Wall Street Journal).

WHY ARE PLASTIC BAGS BAD?
• Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it (United Nations Environment Programme).
• A single plastic bag can take up 500 years or more to degrade (Measuring biodegradability, ScienceLearn.org).
• In good circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade. In less ideal circumstances (landfills or as general refuse), a bag will take more than 500 years to degrade (ScienceLearn.org).

....

More on Facts About the Plastic Bag Pandemic | Blog | reuseit.com and several other sources.

Plastic bags are a real problem ...

Carsten
Thanks Carsten. That is staggering information. I have noticed here when driving by the dump that there are far fewer plastic bags along the fence line. I think the municipality is collecting them more often. I have also noticed more people using reusable bags at the grocery checkout. However there still are a lot of people throwing Styrofoam cups out the car window. Disgusting habit IMO.
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Old 21-09-2015, 11:45   #7
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

The biggest problem with plastic in the environment is that it doesn't really degrade for years and years. It just breaks down into smaller bits that aren't very visible. These are then ingested by small creatures who are then eaten by fish. We at the top of the food chain ingest the chemicals from the plastic when we eat fish.

Did you know that manufacturers are adding micro beads into many things, such as toothpaste, facial scrubs, etc., with no requirement to register them. These do not break down and are in virtually every major waterway in the world.
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Old 21-09-2015, 12:14   #8
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Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Make the bag degrade but do not ban them.

https://www.foodpoisoningbulletin.co...-Illness-1.pdf


As for microbeads, those should be banned. I heard a story that some toothpastes have them they get stuck in dental work causing issues.

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Old 21-09-2015, 14:14   #9
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

UK supermarkets charging 5p per bag from 1 Oct 15. It's a start.

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Old 21-09-2015, 14:49   #10
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Plastics aren't the problem... people are the problem...and you don't have to go to sea to see it..... a Buenos Aires marina.....

Last trip I did across the south pacific the only plastic I saw was 4 or 5 small (600ml?) water bottles over 60 days, all on the western side fairly near to land over a matter of days.

I think you can ban all the plastic you like in the developed(?) world ... there will still be massive amounts going into the sea in places like Asia.
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Old 21-09-2015, 15:14   #11
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Quote:
Last trip I did across the south pacific the only plastic I saw was 4 or 5 small (600ml?) water bottles over 60 days, all on the western side fairly near to land over a matter of days.
Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't there. Plastic remnants are in all the worlds oceans in quantities as in post #4. Take a close look at the beach next time you walk it.

Here are some pictures of NZ beaches.
https://www.google.com/search?q=plas...EsPKiuequgg%3D

And some info from Australia
http://www.marineconservation.org.au...pollution.html
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Old 21-09-2015, 17:25   #12
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Nothing can be done. Asia will keep polluting even if we raise food prices 75% by making even more happy feel good laws.
Get off your law push, you are hurting the poorest people most.
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Old 21-09-2015, 17:47   #13
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

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Nothing can be done. Asia will keep polluting even if we raise food prices 75% by making even more happy feel good laws.
Get off your law push, you are hurting the poorest people most.
Per capita, Americans account for a hell of a lot more pollution than any country in Asia could even remotely dream about.

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Old 21-09-2015, 18:42   #14
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

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Per capita, Americans account for a hell of a lot more pollution than any country in Asia could even remotely dream about.
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If you've traveled to Asia and didn't see massive pollution, you must have been on a Disney cruise.

Do an image web search for Chinese or Indian air and water pollution and check out the photos. It's been a problem for the five decades I have traveled from the Persian Gulf to Korea. The Asian littoral is a filthy mess.

I have been in harbors in the US at several Hawaiian Islands, in the Canadian and US Northwest, the California Coast and Channel Islands, the Guif Coast, the East Coast from Key West to Portsmouth, NH, and all across the Europe and the Med. None of these harbors or coasts has a fraction of the filth of Asia.

What is the source of your "per capita" pollution metric?
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Old 21-09-2015, 22:01   #15
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Re: Plastic in Pacific Ocean Gyre

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't there. Plastic remnants are in all the worlds oceans in quantities as in post #4. Take a close look at the beach next time you walk it.

Here are some pictures of NZ beaches.
https://www.google.com/search?q=plas...EsPKiuequgg%3D

And some info from Australia
Plastic Pollution ยท Learn ยท Australian Marine Conservation Society
Hmmmm... did you actually go through the pics in the first link....? the worst appear to be of Midway, LA, Bali, with a few NZ ones thrown in......and the one thing missing is plastic shopping bags...........

Plastic shopping bags are very important to me... I use them as pedal bin liners and use them to carry the mass of plastic my daily life seems to generate from kitchen to wheelie bin. I seem to need 7 a week. Pretty much the same deal when in port on the boat not that I generate that much plastic waste there but I do have a daily galley chuck out.

The worst plastic pollution I have seen has been in south east asia where you come across matts of vegetation that has come down rivers and acts as a plastic collecter on its way.... also the Inland Sea in Japan... was bad enough there 40 years ago when it could block the seawater intakes on large ships.

Australia? Plenty ...but once again rarely shopping bags - disposable lighters, toothbrushes (??) and jandles... never in pairs..always just single jandles.. seem to top the list.
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