That Big Plastic Gyre – It Ain’t So Pretty


Our trashy ocean

While doing research on a piece about the garbage we dump in our oceans, I found a few pictures and videos that amazed me. I was looking for the impact that raw sewage has on our oceans (yes, that’s legal), but was astounded at how much garbage of every kind that ends up swimming among the fishes. To be more accurate, the fish are swimming around with the garbage in them.

You may have heard about this, but until you put your eyes on how much is out there, it’s all something that happens some place else. It’s easy to dismiss when you don’t see it out your back door. The truth is, the polluting of our waters was a problem 40 years ago. We just forget so easily. This is what happened to the Cuyahoga River when the pollution choked off any life in it – it caught fire.

cuyahoga river fire

After that horrifying event, we realized that we can’t dump anything we want into our waterways without there being dire consequences. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Everyone started to realize that our actions have consequences. Since then, we’ve moved on to pollute our oceans.

We think it’s ok to do it in the oceans because it’s much larger. It will dilute itself. Those few toxins, and the little bit of garbage that cruise ships throw overboard won’t add up to much. Guess what? It does. It turns out that, all those little bits have added up to lots. The biggest culprit is plastic. Yes, we’ve been sold on the wonder of plastic. It comes in any color of the rainbow, it can be made into any shape that you want, and unlike wood or glass, it doesn’t break. The problem is, we use it in so many “disposable” products, that the plastic will outlive us.

Would you like to canoe in it?

canoeing in plastic

Would you let your children play on a beach with it?

plastics on a beach

Would you eat a fish that had eaten it before he got to your plate?

fish's plastic meal

We don’t see it, but it’s there. And the life in our oceans are literally eating our garbage. There’s no amount of evolution that can help these animals overcome this obstacle.

What do we need to see before we realize that we are polluting our planet once again? I ask you to take the challenge. Visit the 5 Gyres project to learn more. Be sure to share this post with family, friends, and co-workers so that we can stop this horror.

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