Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another tragic human legacy

The October 2005 issue of National Geographic has a stunning pictoral review of the Outer Hawai'ian islands, or more appropriately atolls and reefs. The compelling portion of this story was the trash that has accumulated on these far flung, uninhabited isles and how the hundreds of thousands of seabirds eat it, ingest, feed it to their young and die from it. Mostly plastic but this bird in the picture had a lighter, a couple bottle caps and mounds of plastic. It died from starvation as you can imagine. Plastic having no nutritional value.
I've subscribed to the National Geographic magazine for decades (OMG! did I say that) and like to think I do my tiny part in educating myself and supporting their causes. However, with that said, it's hard to read sometimes. After all, coming face to face with the staggering number of unimaginable atrocities we've committed on planet earth and her inhabitants is hard to bear.

Further reading material on the wonderful spread of plastic pollution throughout our oceans:
South Africa:
Pacific Ocean:

And the worst of it all, an excerpt below:

One bright summer morning when the captain of the private research vessel Alguita sighted an island where no land should be. The size of Central Europe, this floating island was made of plastic bags.
Six-million of them, according to the logbook of the vessel that lost them. Destined for Taco Bells across the USA, the junk food bags had collected into a single massive blob more a thousand miles off California’s dreaming shore.
As correctable as any unconscious habit, plastic pollution pervades the high seas. The plastic island Moore logged in February 2004 was found inside the three-million square-mile area of the North Pacific Ocean directly under a giant “H” on TV weather maps. Now dubbed the “Eastern Garbage Patch”, this vast high-pressure zone mirrors and interacts with a oceanic circulation called the North Pacific gyre, whose endless rotation traps and congeals our refuse under the scrutiny of starving seabirds who see the tiny plastic pellets as food.

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