Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garbage, Trash Heaps and You

This topic has come up in conversation a few times recently and within the conversation a few people have asked me to write about it because we think it's something more people should be talking about.

Anyone who knows me well knows my anti-plastic stance. The few plastic bags we do end up with in my home we reuse as much as possible, but usually we use reusable grocery bags. I use reusable bottles for water and juice and reusable containers instead of sandwich bags. However, not enough people are doing this and even I should be doing more. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their use of non-biodegradable plastics.

Reuse It.

Floating in the Pacific Ocean is the biggest garbage dump in the world, largely made up of plastic and styrofoam. Some reports suggest it may be twice the size of Texas.

Give me a minute. I have to compose myself because writing that makes me nauseous. While I do that watch this video:

This is a sickening, horrific reality. The fact that it exists is sickening. The fact that only a small percentage of America is talking about it is worse. And America isn't the only one to blame. This disgusting trash heap floats in international waters, and many different countries contributed to it. And don't think it's just the Pacific, there is one in the Atlantic as well. And the Indian Ocean.

I want to address the skeptics here because I like to include both sides of every story. There are some people who feel the size and impact of the trash is grossly exaggerated and then this is just an agenda by environmentalists. To them I have to say who cares? Even if it's only the size of Rhode Island that's too much. Even if it's just one plastic bag wrapped around one crab's legs it's too much. We need to be more respectful of the planet and the other beings who inhabit it. We are intelligent beings with the ability to do amazing things, so why are we still doing such foolish things as well?

If we can put a computer into every American's pocket and we can create beautiful things in this world why can't we also reduce our negative impact on the environment?

These trash heaps affect marine life, birds, water quality, air quality. The statistics are horrific. The photos are worse.

Here is a website for more information.

A quick survey of even the greenest of my friends proved that too many people are unaware of this situation. More people need to know. More people need to be talking about this. This should be common knowledge. Every time we grocery shop we should be thinking of this. Every time we pick up bottled water we should remember where that bottle is headed next. If you think about buying styrofoam plates you should be aware.

As my partner said earlier this week, "you can only allow yourself to remain so naive on these things before you have to face the reality of it." Convenience causes us to just use and use and waste and waste but the little extra effort it would take could make a huge difference in the future of this planet. We can't continue walking through this world with blinders on and our hands over our ears. We need to demand better of ourselves and our fellow earthlings.

Great Garbage Patch

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