Some of us feel quite good about ourselves because we recycle our plastics at home. We believe we are doing our little bit to save the environment. But, as it turns out, very little of the plastics that we recycle are being reused in a useful way. As the article below points out, there are many challenges to achieving real meaningful recycling. Perhaps the solution is to use less plastics, or plastics in a more sustainable way. (The author of this article linked to below (click on the image) talks about “bioplastics”, which is something they are working on in their University.) Whichever way you look at it, there are additional costs involved in getting things on the right path. The article below is a good read in the sense that it also gives you a good sense of the bigger picture, and of the damage we are doing to ourselves over the longer run.
(Courtesy – The Conversation)
Here is a video from the article.
A socially active friend of mine had told me about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch a while back. He is the type of person who is likely to latch on to out-of-the-mainstream causes, some of which require a lot of work to verify. I only followed the story in the background of my mind for several years, not certain if there was any exaggeration in the statement of the problem. The subject seems to have moved into the mainstream in more recent times.
We human beings do not realize the extent of the damage that we are doing to the planet just because we do not see a lot of it with our own eyes. We will also willingly deny the role that we play in the process of its destruction.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? From Wikipedia:
“The patch is characterized by exceptionally high relative pelagic concentrations of plastic, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Its low density (4 particles per cubic meter) prevents detection by satellite imagery, or even by casual boaters or divers in the area. It consists primarily of an increase in suspended, often microscopic, particles in the upper water column.”
How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? From Wikipedia:
“The findings from the two expeditions, show that the patch is 1.6 million square kilometers and has a concentration of 10-100 kg per square kilometers. They estimate there to be 80.000 metric tonnes in the patch, with 1.8 trillion plastic pieces, out of which 92% of the mass is to be found in objects larger than 0.5 centimeters.”
The reason for my posting of this blog was a mainstream news item that I saw on CNN regarding attempts to try to address the issue. The project is called The Ocean Cleanup. They think they are capable of cleaning up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years. Part of the solution is trying to figure how the best way to recycle the garbage that is captured. Hope it all works, and that we can clean up the mess that we have all made!