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In keeping with last week’s post on island getaways, this week let’s take a look at trash islands!
In both the Atlantic and Pacific we see HUGE islands or patches of garbage made up of small pieces of plastic and other waste. The patches in the Pacific can be as big as the state of Texas! Where does all this garbage come from? The vast majority (80%) comes from land – it’s blown off beaches, washes through storm drains, or washes into rivers and streams. The rest comes from cruise ships and cargo ships. Be sure to watch this Discovery video to see what a garbage patch/island looks like.
How can you help? There’s not a practical way to clean up these islands, yet. Our best action is prevention:
- Never litter or throw trash into a storm drain
- Recycle whenever possible. Yes, there is some dispute about the effectiveness of some methods of collecting and recycling plastic, but one thing’s for sure – recycled plastic doesn’t create trash islands
- Reduce and reuse! The more trash you can keep out of the waste stream, the less chance of it ending up in the ocean!
What you do on the land affects our oceans!
Source: Miller, G.T. and S.E. Spoolman. 2015. Living in the Environment, Eighteenth Edition. Stamford CT, Cengage Learning. pg. 560.