Or, If You Still Aren't Recycling Here's a DAMN GOOD REASON to Start
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, you say? Well, it's a huge floating pile of trash all clobbered together in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. What is it? It's mostly plastics. Plastics like that water bottle you just threw in the trash. Plastics like that wrapper you just threw out the window. Plastics like that gallon jug you left by the creek at the camping area. It's estimated that only about 20% of the trash comes from ships. The other 80% comes from land sources, like through rivers, drainage, etc. And here's the kicker: it's big. How big, you say? It's ROUGHLY TWICE THE SIZE OF FUCKING TEXAS!
How does it stay in one general area? This article from the LA Times perhaps puts it best:
This is known as the Eastern Garbage Patch, part of a system of currents called the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Located halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii, the garbage patch is an area of slack winds and sluggish currents where flotsam collects from around the Pacific, much like foam piling up in the calm center of a hot tub.Pretty scary, eh? And this is only the biggest patch! They exist in all the oceans all over the world!
If anyone ever needed a reason to start, and stick with, recycling this is a good one. Why aren't you recycling? Too much work, too much hassle? You have a busy life, you have lots of responsibilities, lots to see, do, learn, people to meet, etc., and you just don't have the time for it? It's not worth the effort? I wonder what the innocent animals who live in the water think of your rationalizations. Some animals, like this sea turtle, become trapped and deformed by the floating trash. Some ingest it and die either from starvation, suffocation or from the plastic painfully twisting their innards. Some get trapped in larger piles and simply can't get out, so they starve to death with a clear view of freedom and food. From the same LA Times article:
An estimated 1 million seabirds choke or get tangled in plastic nets or other debris every year. About 100,000 seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and sea turtles suffer the same fate.And if that's not enough to get you off your ass consider this: the trash doesn't just hurt the animals within its immediate area.
Plastics are derived from petroleum. The heat of the sun, as well as ultraviolet rays, causes the plastics to break down into water and carbon dioxide thus adding to the problem of global climate change. While it's still floating the plastic blocks sunlight, interrupting the growth of algae, which also adds to the problem of global climate change. You see, algae eats carbon dioxide, loves the stuff. There are even experiments going on to feed iron to algae thus creating a boom in their growth and a lowering of carbon dioxide. It's not just the animals who are suffering. By refusing to recycle we are, in effect, killing ourselves.
If you aren't already recycling your plastics, numbers 1 and 2, start now! There's no time like the present! There are recycling centers all across this land and many, many larger towns and cities include recycling pickup with their regular trash service, often at no extra cost. What's stopping you? Yeah, it's a new routine but once you've gotten into it you will be amazed at how simple it is, how easy it is. Rinse things out, get rid of the lid and label and toss the item into a set aside recycling bin. Then, either put it on the curb or gather it all together every few months or so. You'll be doing your part to make sure the Garbage Patches of the world don't get any bigger. You'll make yourself feel good and you just might teach your kids something about environmental responsibility. Even if you don't give a shit about the animals of the oceans at least get to recycling for the sake of yourself, your own children and your race.