"Everything runs downstream, and downstream is the ocean."
There is an island just packed with shoes, toys, bags and bottles. This sounds like Utopia for (some) holidays-lovers! But reality is slightly different: it's an island made of debris; marine pollution gathered by ocean currents called the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.
Charles J. Moore discovered this 'island' in 1997 when returning home after competing in a sailing race. He came upon an enormous stretch of floating debris and with this, discovered The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This "island made of garbage and plastic" has roughly the size of the state Texas and is made of approximately 3,5mln tons of trash.
Great pacific garbage patch image
The question now is what to do with this "man made" island. Scooping it all out of the ocean is not an option: it would cost a fortune and would kill the wild sea life in the nets. Another problem is that plastic, when in water for a longer period of time, dissolves into very small pieces, turning into a sort of "plastic jelly" which makes it harder to retrieve it from the water. And even if we manage to get it out of the ocean, what to do with it next? And how to tackle the root cause of the issue: the enormous amount of trash, generated by all of us, finding its way to the oceans every day.
At this moment various scientists are investigating how to tackle this huge problem, but it is not that simple. And while humans are trying to find ways to deal with it, the wild life keeps eating it, thinking it is food. It kills them and parts of the trash gets back into our ecosystem. So, as long as there is no solution for this problem mr Moore is right with his comment: "You can buy certified farm produce, but no fishmonger on earth can sell you a certified organic wild-caught fish. This is our legacy."
Great pacific garbage patch picture
By the way, using less plastic and recycling more is an very easy way to do your share in stopping this island of plastic from further expansion!
Please see also my other blog post with a TED video about the Great Ocean Garbage Patch: