Filed under: Uncategorized
We have just passed through the convergence zone, leaving the gyre, after two weeks in only one area of a large water mass, known as the North Pacific Gyre. Our findings made believers out of doubters, if there were any before we set out. We found bits of plastic debris, consistently, in over 100 sample nets, towed on the surface, over 900 miles of water. These samples were random in their location, but scheduled in their intervals.
I too was surprised. I knew we would not find an “island” out here, but I also didn’t expect to find the mass-existence of so much smaller debris. Now the question is “how deep does it go?” How fast does the material break down into this small, “confetti” state, after being at sea in the form of a large object from the beginning of its journey to the gyre?
We only scratched the surface. That is sad, because there is a lot of ocean that we did not survey, and the water characteristics in the gyre suggest that there is much more than what we witnessed in just a two-week period. What this shows us is that man has extended it’s reach, to the far reaches of the world, in this case the ocean, in the form of another environmentally tarnished footprint. We only saw two boats on the entire time in the gyre, and one was the Kaisei. Even planes barely fly overhead. This is the “quiet zone” in terms of human activity, because there is no one out here working, polluting, or wasting things, yet we have still managed to leave our mark in the form of debris. It has come from all of us. There is only one ocean. This debris filled gyre is a perfect case of tragedy of the commons.
It is our ocean, and now it is time to appreciate its importance in our daily lives, even if we don’t touch it every day, instead of always taking from it, or adding to it.
3 Comments so far
Leave a comment