Re: Removing trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre
Pollution all around the globe in an increasing problem effecting the entire planet. As human beings continue to consume more and more products, the waste produced by these products also increases. Unwanted bottles and packaging from land as well as buoys and netting from boats is finding its way to the sea. These items float on the surface of the water and drift at the mercy of the ocean’s currents. Gyres, which are circular surface currents, gather the trash from offshore and spin it into a massive rotating vortex of pollution in the middle of the world’s oceans. This trash has a negative effect on the organisms that interact with it and it needs to be cleaned from the water and prevented from ever entering it again. As an administrator for NOAA I hope that you will support and fund my project to remove pollution from the ocean and prevent further contamination.
How pollution enters a gyre:
Charles Moore first discovered the garbage patch in 1997 between Hawaii and the coast of California. It is roughly double the size of Texas and can be 100 feet deep in some places. The increase in the amount of garbage in the gyre is due to the increased use of plastic on land (Kostigen 2008). The pollution that is non-biodegradable in the ocean comes directly form the carelessness of human consumers. When a consumer discards litter, such as a plastic bag or empty soda bottle, it has the potential to reach the ocean through ocean dumping or blowing wind. These methods of pollution are the causes of this great mass of pollution. The trash that makes up these landfills comes from both the eastern shores of Japan as well as the Western coast of the United States. When a piece of trash enters the ocean it is taken on a ride by a series of currents (The Trash Vortex). It will flow with the currents until it is taken hold of by the Pacific gyre.
Problems that arise from this landfill at sea:
The physics problems that come from garbage in the ocean are obvious. Larger animals that inhabit the sea such as sea turtles, dolphins and fish have the potential to get entangled in the garbage that they swim into. These animals along with birds also feed on the garbage because they believe that it is food. The plastic gives the organism no nutrition and has been linked to many of their deaths. But the problem is not only physical tangling and eating of the garbage but it is the molecular poisoning that one cannot see with their eye.
Recently, the research done by Bill Henry of the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California has shown evidence that the plastics in these great garbage gyres are breaking down molecularly into a compound that has been found to be toxic to some animals. This molecular approach is a pioneer way of looking at pollution in the ocean because previously it has been researched based on what we can see and the physical damaging...