Most of our waste today is comprised of plastic. Plastic, which is made from petroleum, is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, except for a small amount that has been incinerated, releasing toxic chemicals.
This statement makes me sad. If I let myself think about the state of our world environment, I get overwhelmed by the magnitude of how thoroughly humans have screwed everything up and how we continue to. I watched a documentary a few years ago about the Pacific Garbage Patch and was horrified by the density of plastic waste that is concentrated in our oceans. The thing is –where the hell did we think all that plastic waste was going?! The pacific garbage patch is an enormous stretch of floating debris which is as shockingly deep as it is wide. Estimates range from 'the size of Texas' to the size of 'Spain and France, combined'.
As shown in these tables the ocean currents have created conditions which favor a convergent zone of stable water where in 1998 it was published exists a mass of plastic debris.
Obviously ‘plastic debris has significant environmental and economic impacts in marine systems’ and human health. The main problem in determining the volume of debris is that we currently do not have the resources to measure it. By having an better idea of how much trash we are dealing with we will be better able to find a solution.
The concept of Recycled Island is not naturally pertinent and admittedly a fanciful solution to a grave problem. However the Pacific Garbage Patch is not going to disappear without human intervention. The fact that skeptics even exists would suggest that any amount of attention drawn to this issue will help pave the way to establishing a set of goals and solutions that might begin to make an impact in our lifetime, or that of our children’s.
To read the ten main characteristics of Recycle Island and check out their website click here.
To read a short and interesting article by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health click here.
To learn more about the Great Garbage Patch and the source for the leading quote, click this.