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Plastic Soup

Plastic Soup


Plastic Soup

by Dominique de Bruin

We have been told that there is a plastic bag island, larger than the state of Texas, is floating in the Pacific Ocean.

But actually, there is no real island of plastic to set up lawn chairs and beach towels. The proper name is the Central Pacific Gyre (East). It spans from the California coast to Japan or approximately 10 million square miles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

According to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, CA, the Gyre is a vortex of air and water which creates clockwise currents and high pressure systems that are extremely hazardous for yachts to travel into. Its precisely these currents that cause trash and plastics to gather in the area, otherwise known as plastic soup.

Captain Charles Moore is a founder and research coordinator of the Algalita Foundation. The foundation specializes in environmental issues pertaining to marine life. While on an expedition to the Gyre, the Algalita team discovered a more disturbing site, its called the subtropical convergence zone (West). The subtropical convergence zone is simply the point in which warmer waters in tropical temperatures meets cold water. Its in this area where the currents formulate highways of trash, even more dense than the Gyre.

Many locals call these zones the Pacific Garbage Patches, and they consists mostly of plastic items such as bags, fishing line, and nets.

Sometimes our trash gets confused with a marine animal's normal diet. It has been documented that many marine species cannot tell the difference between a plastic bag and a jellyfish, for example. It has also been shown that many marine animals have been found dead from chocking on plastic bags and other items.

Waste has more consequences than we realize, as our oceans attest. Despite a rather successful recycling movement there are still 90 billion plastic bags that are thrown away rather than recycled ever year.

There has to be a solution to the amount of waste that we generate, and that solution is to transition from plastic bags to reusable bags.

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