An update since posting my poem titled, "The Dead Zone."
Since posting my poem on the accumulating menace of our propensity for trashing the earth's oceans (The Dead Zone http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewpoetry.asp?id=202976 ) there is more news on this topic. A report delivered during 2007 Christmas week tells us there is a place in the Pacific Ocean where various ocean and wind currents have collected a floating patch of waste plastic -- mostly bottles, containers, and grocery bags.
Okay, so there's some trash in the Pacific Ocean. Big Deal! It's a big place. What are a few pieces of plastic in the whole ocean going to matter.
Yes, it is a big deal. This trash patch is -- are you ready for this? -- twice the size of the state of Texas. But that's not all. Here is an excerpt from a blog by Bill Boteler on August 6:
"Did you know that 500 billion to a trillion plastic bags are produced and consumed each year? That is something like 100 bags for each of the 6 billion plus persons on earth. Did you know that of this amount only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled (World Watch Institute)? Where do they put all that plastic?
I found out where some of it is:
There’s an area known as the North Pacific subtropical gyre which contains a mass of floating plastic trash twice the size of Texas, see: http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/travel-leisure/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we.shtml.
This is where the bags and bottles accumulate under the influence of ocean currents and winds.
According to Charles Moore, who has been carrying out studies of this area called “The Garbage Patch”, the sea there contains, by weight, six times as much plastic as it does plankton.
Moore says that the North Pacific gyre is only one of five such high-pressure zones in the oceans. There are similar areas in the South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean, each with its own version of the Garbage Patch. Together, these areas cover 25 % of the planet.
But that’s only the floating trash. According to Greenpeace, about 70 percent of the trash, around 6.5 million tons of plastic rubbish, lies out of sight on the seabed. The great bulk of this waste is made up of discarded plastic containers and bags.
This growing mass of stuff, besides being ugly, is of concern for several reasons. The more well-known problem is the havoc wreaked on wildlife. Sea turtles swallow the bags, mistaking them for their favorite jelly fish. Nearly one million seabirds and 100 thousand marine mammals may die from entanglement or ingestion of floatable debris each year."
(For the whole article see: http://earthdaynetwork.spaces.live.com/mmm2007-10-25_18.59/blog/cns!FE94E768F855775C!665.entry )
It would seem that our plastic chickens are coming home to roost. These materials don't break down for more than 500 years. We'll simply have to switch back to paper rather than plastic if we care about surviving. I have long said that there is a race going on: whether we will run out of oil before we exterminate ourselves with it. But, who knows. Maybe soon if the price of oil gets to a few hundred bucks a barrel, we'll mine this abomination as a resource.
Web Site: Rappahannock Books
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|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|Leland, you are so right. My three or so million neighbors here in Houston have guys use gasoline motors to clip every grass blade in n sight, package it in a plastic bag, and send it off to the landfill. Any trash that is on the lawn, plastic, metal, or otherwise, gets sucked up with the grass and put in the plastic bag.
And then, my neighbors put copious amounts of commercial fertilizer , herbicides and insecticides on their lawns to kill all beneficial plants and insects, and poison the soil with the harsh fertilizer. When we have heavy rains all this gets washed to the sea, along with all the trash that people routinely throw on the streets and sidewalks and vacant lots without any thought to the consequences.
Perhaps a new industry will pop up, fishing these high-pressure zones for the valuable plastic that can be recycled.
|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
|LELAND... THANKS FOR INFO! WELL DONE!
WHY do people not have a clue as to ALL of our waste?
GARBAGE HEAPS AND GARBAGE SCOWS IN EVERY MAJOR CITY -
MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF OLD USED TIRES -
SEWAGE SYSTEMS LOADED WITH HUMAN WASTE JUST DISINTEGRATING
BECAUSE OF AGE AND VOLUME -
JUNK CARS AND JUNK YARDS DOTTING THE LANDSCAPE NATIONALLY -
FAILING BRIDGES FALLING DOWN FROM NEGLECT -
RADON - LEAD PAINT POISONING - TOXIC FUMES FROM CHEMICAL COMPANIES -
UNDERGROUND WATER SUPPLY PIPES FAILING BECAUSE OF AGE -
AND MUCH MUCH WORSE... PEOPLE BEING DISCARDED -
OLD AGE HOMES WITH SENIOR CITIZENS ROTTING, WHILE CORPORATIONS PROFIT BY IT!
STREET PEOPLE AND BEGGARS LIVING IN CARDBOARD BOXES EVERYWHERE -
THE PLIGHT OF MILLIONS OF FORGOTTEN VETERANS -
OVER A QUARTER MILLION IN LOS ANGELES ALONE -
CONGRESS IGNORES ALL! ADMINISTRATION IGNORES ALL! POLITICIANS IGNORE ALL!
GOVERNORS IGNORE ALL! MAYORS IGNORE ALL! MEDIA IGNORES ALL!
WE ARE GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET AND "WE THE PEOPLE" IGNORE ALL!
THE APATHY OF AMERICANS AND THE LACK OF BRASS BALLS IS DOOMING MANKIND!
SHAKESPEARE'S CHARACTER PUCK PUT IT THIS WAY: "WHAT FOOLS THESE MORTALS BE!"
PLASTICS IN THE OCEAN? THE MERE TIP OF THE ICEBERG...
REMEMBER THE TITANIC CAPTAIN'S PROUD BOAST?
"THE SHIP THAT EVEN GOD CAN'T SINK!" SURE - SURE - SURE!
|Reviewed by C. J. Stevens
|That is shocking indeed. I had no idea of the true extent of this horror. Thank you for sharing the article. I hope you are sending it to every magazine in print and on the net.
|Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader)
|Leland. Leland. Leland. Mother earth will not be subdued by puny man . . .|
|Reviewed by Amber Moonstone
|Leland, As your name implies you are a man of the land of the earth. I am appalled by this article. I cannot believe that mankind has come to this disgusting plastic mess. It makes me weep to know that we are killing our environment. This is absolutely so irresponsible..
I am going to be very active for this cause..Please let me know what I can do to make even one more voice heard.
Thank you for bringing this to us..You are a true Earth father.
Peace, love, and light,