Kanapou (Hawaii) in 2012. Cite.

by baldilocks

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

— Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

Thinking about skipping the fish course after reading this. Forever.

Environmentalists expressed concern in October 2016 after a team of researchers from The Ocean Cleanup Foundation surveyed the vortex of trash piling up between California and Hawaii, spotting chunks of plastic glued together measuring more than a yard.

“[It’s a] ticking time bomb because the big stuff will crumble down to micro-plastics over the next few decades if we don’t act,” Boyan Slat, founder of Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that helps remove pollution from the world’s oceans, told Newser at the time.

The size of the trash pile has nearly doubled in size since then, containing at least 79,000 tons of plastic — “a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported,” Scientific Reports said.

Researchers gathered 1.2 million samples during a multi-vessel expedition in October 2017, exactly one year after their previous test.

They used large nets to scoop the debris and took several aerial images to examine the extent of the GPGP.

Large items such as bottles, ropes, plastic bags and buoys were the most common objects spotted in the pile. Fishing nets had an overwhelming presence, accounting for nearly half of the weight of debris picked up by research vessels.

Los Angeles and other municipalities may have had a point when they decided to “ban” plastic grocery bags. They’re not actually banned; one just has to pay for them, now. Reusable bags are now ubiquitous, if the doorknobs in my apartment are an indication, but I do use plastic bags as liners for my trash can. I’m rethinking this.

But what about bottled water? I do recycle every empty container, but what happens to them after that?

And though most Americans are consistent recyclers – optimistically speaking – what about citizens of other countries, the one to the south of us, for example?

For years, we have been inundated with propaganda about the alleged calamity of Global Warming/Climate Change – whatever it’s been called this decade – as if individuals or governments possessed the ability to do something about the weather.

Then, come to find out that an ocean containing a continent-sized trash heap is a true problem that human beings can fix, or, at least, try not to make worse. I’m not usually a collectivist, but this is a problem that all of humanity owns.

I look forward to our betters making a global issue out of this. For once, I would listen.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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