Interesting video on an ocean bound scientific expedition on the subject:
Mid-cruise update from the recent Plastics at SEA: North Atlantic Expedition 2010. (Credits: Courtesy of SEA)
Scientists are trying to understand what goes on in and around floating patches of plastic debris in the world's oceans. Results from a 22 year investigation into floating plastic garbage were published this week in the journal Science. The researchers looked at the physics behind the plastic accumulation, its concentration, and biological activity in and around the debris. Interestingly, the researchers found somewhat less plastic than they anticipated. We'll talk to one of the authors of the report about the findings.
Kara Lavender Law
Oceanography Faculty Scientist
Sea Education Association
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Thank you for your update and drawing attention back to this problem.
I have been wondering what to do about a local problem we are having here on the Atlantic side of the US.
Since the city of Portland Maine has started recycling much of the trash thrown away is recycled now but along with recycling I think come unforeseen consequences.
The way Portland does its recycling is they sell "blue garbage bags" so the residents of the city and surrounding municipalities have to mandatorily discard all of their trash from their residences in these blue trash bags. They are quite pricey about 6 dollars for about 6 or 8 average sized garbage bags. The money from the sales pay for the recycling operations.
The problem is I think the city took away many of these waste cans that were placed sporadically around the city fearing people would opt to throw their trash in them rather than buy the bags. Now some people just throw their trash anywhere.
I cannot believe how nasty and unconsciousness people are. The city does have mobile street sweepers than do a good job of the streets and periodically they do the sidewalks. But still there is various litter everywhere now.
People really suck. I wish the city would post on the telephone poles warnings of heavy fines for littering and place camera warnings in key trouble spots.
Also there needs to be more trash cans in park areas where people gather.
I surmise this flagrant litter now ends up in the storm drains and is dumped directly into the sea. The run off from the storm drains does not cycle through the sewerage treatment facilities. It funnels directly into the sea... I think the city should keep and maintain more trash disposal cans and post signs in spite of their efforts to get people to buy the blue bags...
I plan on writing my city council on this very matter and inquire on which days are days where citizens volunteer to clean up the beaches. I will volunteer myself for this. It will help my karma.