North Atlantic Gyre: Jan 28th: Plastic Ring

We slow the sailboat down to 2 knots and trawl for 3 hours, skimming the surface for whatever floats. At 1:30am we pull in the net. Among the shredded plastic film, nurdles, and random pieces of plastic confetti, we’ve also nabbed a milk jug ring.

 

North Atlantic Gyre: Jan 28th: Plastic Ring

 

Posted on January 30, 2010 in Blog

Jan. 28 “Plastic Ring”

We end our first day at sea after an unbelievable 10 days in Bermuda. The island in now a distant glow on the horizon as we put the research trawl back in the water. We slow the sailboat down to 2 knots and trawl for 3 hours, skimming the surface for whatever floats. At 1:30am we pull in the net. Among the shredded plastic film, nurdles, and random pieces of plastic confetti, we’ve also nabbed a milk jug ring.

 

North Atlantic Gyre: Jan 28th: Plastic Ring

 

In our lectures we often talk about the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife. There is a snapping turtle named “Mae West”. When she was a hatchling she walked into a milk jug ring. As she grew she could not break this corset around her waist. Now she’s as big as a football, but with a thin waist, looking more like an hourglass. Her spine has never healed.

 

North Atlantic Gyre: Jan 28th: Plastic Ring

 

 

This is an example of two key problems to the plastic pollution issue. First, that milk jug ring is a product made to last forever, yet designed to be thrown away. Throw away plastic products, which do not biodegrade, are quickly littering our world.

Second, of the millions of products made in plastic, only a handful have a reasonable plan for recovery. Two companies, Naked Juice and Earthbound Farms, take back all of their plastic containers and will truthfully recycle them back into the original product. But millions of other products made from plastic have no post-consumer plan, so you find them on roadsides, filling landfills, washed up on beaches, and floating out to sea. WE MUST IMPROVE RECOVERY. And please remember, recovery doesn’t begin at sea. The 5 sub-tropical gyres in the world cannot be cleaned, but we can end the Throw Away culture of plastic consumption on, and improve recovery of everything else.

5 Gyres



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