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Plastic is found in even the most remote seas

After discovering a swirling patch of plastic bottles, bags and other bits of debris in both the North Pacific Ocean and throughout the Atlantic Ocean, another potential garbage patch has been uncovered in the coastal seas of Antarctica. 

A majority of the Earth's oceans are remote and untouched by garbage and debris, but as researchers take to the sea more frequently, they're finding that plastic trash is reaching even the most distant waters. According to Anna Cummins, an environmental activist who sailed the Atlantic in February collecting plastic samples, "Humanity's plastic footprint is probably more dangerous than its carbon footprint."

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was predicted after Alaska-based researchers obtained results from measuring neustonic plastic in the North Pacific Ocean between 1985 and 1988. In 1988, a paper on the topic was published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Later, in 1997, Oceanographer and racing boat captain Charles J. Moore stumbled upon a large spread of debris in the North Pacific Gyre after a sailing race.

Earlier this year, an Atlantic Garbage Patch was discovered as well. Cummins and Markus Eriksen found the patch during a sailing trip to the Sargasso Sea. Water samples were taken every 100 miles from the seabed, each sample turning up more plastic debris. 

Now, Antarctica is at risk as well. According to surveys taken during the austral summer of 2007-2008, even the most secluded seas such as the Davis and Durmont D'Urville contained fishing buoys and a plastic cup. The British Antarctic Survey and Greenpeace skimmed surface waters and even dug into the seabed all over the Antarctic region in search of possible debris. In addition to garbage found in the Davis and Durmont D'Urville seas, plastic packaging was found in the Amundsen Sea. 

"The seabeds immediately surrounding continental Antarctica are probably the last environments on the planet yet to be reached by plastics," wrote the research team from the British Antarctic Survey to the journal Marine Environmental Research"But with pieces floating into the surface of the Amundsen Sea, this seems likely to change soon. Our knowledge now touches every sea, but so does our legacy of lost and discarded plastic."

The research team on this expedition, led by David Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey, noted that despite the plastic and debris found in Antarctica, the sledges dragged along the seafloor revealed that the Antarctic ecosystem is "healthy" and "vibrant." Some pieces of plastic may have reached the surface of these desolate waters, but they haven't reached the ocean floor in these areas yet. But researchers are expecting this to change as well.

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What's the problem?
By Spivonious on 6/30/2010 1:45:38 PM , Rating: 4
Bury it in the ground, dump it in the ocean, or burn it into the air. The real answer is to cut down on waste.

RE: What's the problem?
By Grast on 6/30/2010 1:49:39 PM , Rating: 3
No the anwser is cut down on waste and recycle what we can and then dispose in a health environmental way.

I saw screw global warming. This issue is real and needs to be resolved.


RE: What's the problem?
By DarkElfa on 6/30/2010 1:52:30 PM , Rating: 3
We need to start using more biodegradable plastic where its possible.

RE: What's the problem?
By invidious on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: What's the problem?
By Etern205 on 6/30/2010 2:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
The garbage patch isn't a bunch of large objects jumbled together. In fact it's a bunch of microscopic debris like plastic bits and so forth which can't escape due to the gyres that keeps it in its place and fish can't swim around it.

It's time for you to take your head out of your ass as your lack of intelligence is clearly showing.

RE: What's the problem?
By MozeeToby on 6/30/2010 2:32:19 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, it does kill the whales. See the thing is that plastic doesn't biodegrade but it does slowly break into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually the pieces are small enough that whales (and other animals) mistake them for krill and try to eat them. When they get even smaller they can't even be seen and they end up clogging fish's gills, getting into eyes, etc.

RE: What's the problem?
By BZDTemp on 6/30/2010 2:37:02 PM , Rating: 3
I nominate "invidious" as the most egotistical person of the day!

"Why should you care", "Fish can swim around it", "My taxes keep my beaches clean"... damn you must really make your parents proud.

Can you not see that the issue reported on here is a symptom of a really big problem. I think it is sad you have so little compassion and imagination.

Please do the rest of us a favor and do your best to get nominated for a Darwin award as soon as possible.

RE: What's the problem?
By AstroGuardian on 6/30/2010 6:21:13 PM , Rating: 3
Why clean the oil spill? Fish can swim though it... So it's a non-issue... no matter if they are dead afterward.

I can't believe there are creatures which are disgrace to nature such as yourself..

RE: What's the problem?
By dgingeri on 6/30/2010 3:33:39 PM , Rating: 4
I saw screw global warming. This issue is real and needs to be resolved.

the real reason behind this real issue is that this species reproduces far too much and too quickly. There are 6.5+ billion human beings on this planet now. Population control policies need to be implemented, and soon.

the worst part is that the stupidest people are reproducing the most because of casual sex without birth control.

RE: What's the problem?
By bill4 on 6/30/2010 5:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh no, that's actually false

Current projections show a steady decline in the population growth rate, with the population expected to peak at around 9 billion between the year 2040[4][5] and 2050.[1]

the worst part is that the stupidest people are reproducing the most because of casual sex without birth control.

Cant argue that, look at yourself, an obvious product of inbreeding, or the millions of dumb people who actually voted for Obama.

RE: What's the problem?
By spoerad1 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: What's the problem?
By edge929 on 7/1/2010 11:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
The human species is pretty much the only one that does not live by "survival of the fittest". In fact, we are totally opposite, survival of the weakest (or less fortunate). The least educated people do indeed have more babies, and in-turn the educated, wealthier people pay for it (welfare) in the form of taxes.

Critics of this thinking will tell you "humans are not animals, we are capable of feeling empathy". Fact is we ARE animals only with higher levels of logical deductive reasoning.

I'm all for reproduction laws that use certain levels of education and societal achievements as barriers to having offspring. Will there be wars? Absolutely. Will the human population eventually reach critical mass? Absolutely, it's just a matter of time.

RE: What's the problem?
By PARANOID365 on 6/30/2010 5:26:35 PM , Rating: 1
I saw screw global warming

Hey Grast, is that an actual documentary/movie, (because it sounds like it might be a good watch), and if so what was it's actual title, (I couldn't find anything that exactly matched, "screw global warming"). Thanx

RE: What's the problem?
By bill4 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: What's the problem?
By the3monkies on 7/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: What's the problem?
By Ammohunt on 7/1/2010 1:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
Versus what? returning to nature running around in loin cloths and chucking spears at animals as they walk by? you make no sense.

RE: What's the problem?
By Wiggy Mcshades on 7/28/2010 4:47:48 PM , Rating: 1
who gives a shit what happens to the planet? No matter what we do it's destine to be destroyed. I for one like my car not accelerating like its being peddled, I enjoy all the electronics I buy and end up having to throw out, and I'm never going to go inconvenience myself so some ungrateful douche 200 years from now can sit on facebook talking about how cool his solar powered car is.

Makes me Wonder
By JediJeb on 6/30/2010 2:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
These teams of researchers go out and find these plastic patches in the oceans, but it never says how much of it they brought back with them to be disposed of. If they were truly interested in keeping the oceans clean then when they returned their boats would have been loaded with as much of it as they could carry, bringing it back to port to be recycled. Have the made other trips out there to work at cleaning up the mess themselves? Or do they only go out there when they have a nice grant to burn up money and return to tell heart breaking stories?

RE: Makes me Wonder
By Quadrillity on 6/30/2010 2:49:59 PM , Rating: 4
Or do they only go out there when they have a nice grant to burn up money and return to tell heart breaking stories?

Brought to you by the same group that takes pictures of polar bears on small sheets of ice. They are in it only for the money and sad stories.

RE: Makes me Wonder
By DanNeely on 6/30/2010 3:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the size of the areas affected. A single ship couldn't make a meaningful dent in the amount out there. Without creating a plastic eating bacteria (and large chunks of the greens would howl about this too) to spread across the ocean.

The tiny particles the plastic breaks down into create a problem as hard to separate out of the water as an oil spill and we're not exactly having much luck cleaning that up despite it being a few orders of magnitude smaller in area.

Baring a breakthrough we can only monitor the scope of the problem.

RE: Makes me Wonder
By bill4 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: Makes me Wonder
By JediJeb on 7/1/2010 8:08:28 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the size of the areas affected. A single ship couldn't make a meaningful dent in the amount out there.

Maybe not, but if you are serous about something you do what you can, even if it is very little. If I throw a plastic bottle in the ocean, I haven't contributed an appreciable amount of plastic to the ocean, yet I wouldn't throw one in because I know it is not a good thing to do. If I see a piece of trash on the beach or side of the road, I pick it up and throw it into a trash can, it doesn't make a dent in the overall amount of trash there, but it is the right thing to do. If you see someone hungry and cold, and you say to them "Be fed, be warm" have you done them any good? No. But if you give them food and a coat, you have taken care of their needs, if only for a moment.

I am only asking the questions in the previous post because I want to know if the people involved are serious about fixing the problem or only about sounding an alarm to be seen and heard. If you are serious about a cause you will be putting your time, effort, and influence into it.

RE: Makes me Wonder
By 67STANG on 6/30/2010 6:21:22 PM , Rating: 1
I actually talked with a Marine Biologist that works for Cousteau's team. She and her team just finished a study on floating trash collections in the Pacific. Their consensus? They couldn't find any trash. Period.

RE: Makes me Wonder
By Bateluer on 7/1/2010 12:09:57 AM , Rating: 2
See, that doesn't sell papers, magazines, or increase TV ratings. Gotta have alarmist news to get people to pay attention.

On a more serious note, regardless of whether the trash is there or not, there's nothing wrong with Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Its a good practice that more people should adopt when possible.

RE: Makes me Wonder
By the3monkies on 7/1/2010 4:26:05 AM , Rating: 3
I actually talked with a Marine Biologist that works for Cousteau's team.

I grew up on the New England coast, and spent 5 years of my life in Seattle, and in both areas the beaches are inundated with plastic. But I'm sure you're telling the truth and your marine researcher friend never found any plastic in any of the oceans' waters. Obviously those galdang liberals are sneaking down to the beaches at night and dumping all their plastic trash to dupe us into paying more taxes so that no-good scientists can spend all day yachting around the Caribbean drinking margaritas while the rest of us have to work for a living!

RE: Makes me Wonder
By Wiggy Mcshades on 7/28/2010 4:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm from new england, what beaches are you talking about? Maybe we are going to different beaches, but I've yet to go to one that is inundated with plastic.

Plastic diversion
By GuinnessKMF on 6/30/2010 1:22:43 PM , Rating: 4
See, spilling oil everywhere isn't that big a deal.

RE: Plastic diversion
By geddarkstorm on 6/30/2010 2:12:29 PM , Rating: 5
But, since plastic is made from oil, aren't we simply spilling oil into the ocean in a new form? Oh snap.

RE: Plastic diversion
By bill4 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: Plastic diversion
By Quadrillity on 7/1/10, Rating: -1
It's time.
By blueeyesm on 6/30/2010 1:42:14 PM , Rating: 3
It's time that, we as a species, clean up our mess.

REGARDLESS of what country we are from.

We spent money buying it and letting it be tossed into the ocean, we must spend more to get it out and have it recycled or disposed of properly.

RE: It's time.
By invidious on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: It's time.
By cparka23 on 6/30/2010 2:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
In related news, it's also time to end the practice of shaking babies and to ban urinating in the punch bowl when nobody's looking.

Second Hand Plastic Kills
By rsmech on 7/1/2010 1:43:22 AM , Rating: 1
I ask all the anti-global warming crowd to please pick up after yourselves because if you don't you'll never hear the end of global warming or "second hand plastic".

Seriously it's not hard to pick up after yourselves besides if you don't we will get new bio-degradable plastics that don't get in whale eyes they just cause birth defects & disease in humans. So please give in on this one I hate to see where they would take it.

RE: Second Hand Plastic Kills
By Aloonatic on 7/1/2010 5:28:53 AM , Rating: 1
A lot of things that "responsible" people should do are "not hard". However what is hard is getting people to care enough to do it, and whilst cleaning up after yourself might be a simple task, it's not as easy as just dumping your rubbish/trash as you go, leaving it for someone else to clean up.

Sadly, we live in an overly commercialised world, which often means selfish world, where everything is about you, and why you are with it etc, so why care about society? It's there to support you, not for you to take part in and play a part in taking care of yourself too. A gross generalisation I know, but things have changed in the last 50 years. Yes, it wasn't all gleaming clean streets and whatever back in the day I know, but people did take part in society more back then, and had a sense of civic responsibility, where as now, people just see society for what it can do for them.

As we've moved towards the notion of the "powerful" individual, so we all have an iWhatever, notebook, car, 50" TV and do what we want when we want, when we want as that sells more product, we have forgotten why we should give a damn about what is going on in the rest of our society, and that we all share a responsibility for what goes on. You see the comments about I pay my taxes so why should I care... Well, we all pay our taxes, and we should all care.

So until that mind set that most people have in the west (where we have a free choice) changes, things aren't going to change. I don't know how it will change either, as I too enjoy all my shiny gadgets, and the bright lights of the commercialised world which is moving on so fast, but still, we need to stop and think a bit more. I know with this rant I'll get accused of being a lefty or liberal or whatever, I'm really not though, but I just see that there are problems with the way things are now, and don't pretend that either choice, left/right liberal/conservative/socialist will have all the answers to every problem either.

Socially responsible, conservative liberalism FTW! :-D

RE: Second Hand Plastic Kills
By Aloonatic on 7/2/2010 4:00:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, didn't think that would go down well here.

How about, let Obama walk over on water to all the rubbish and clean it up.

Am right?!?!

By Daniel8uk on 6/30/2010 2:05:29 PM , Rating: 1
I forgot which company it is, but they are planning on making six showcase Hoovers out of the plastic in the oceans.

yea, it's only six but I guess it get's the issue noticed.

New companies could develop and take advantage of all this plastic, collect it, refine it and then sell it on to companies who need it.

I think that would be quite a lucrative market.

RE: ...
By PAPutzback on 6/30/2010 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
Because the diesel fuel burned to access a location by Antartica would be efficient. What I want to know is, where does all the wood go that floats out of every country in the world after spring floods. It floats, I am sure it breaks down, does it not get lodge in throats, small pieces stuck in eyes, pieces mistaken for food bits...
And where do the millions of balloons go that are released every year with 3x5 cards on them asking to be mailed back.
The debris in the picture looks a lot like the stuff the morons from Whale Wars have been throwing at the Japanese research boats. How many dolphins have choked on a bottle of skunk spray or got tangled in the floating chains they put out to tear up the Whaler's props.

Can someone please fire this stupid lady?
By bill4 on 6/30/2010 5:29:04 PM , Rating: 1
Literally, a couple feet wide patch of garbage, is now "news"?

BTW Tiffany, Dow dropped another 100 today. Double dip recession/depression is real, thanks to environmental regulations cutting off all growth. Thanks, Tiffany, for doing your part to ensure huge Democrat losses in November.

Are we through pretending the Gulf oil spill has done any damage at all for today? Boy, I dont know how we ever survived that one. Oh wait yeah I do, there's NO REAL DAMAGE ANYWHERE from the BP oil spill. Zero.

By Etern205 on 6/30/2010 10:51:37 PM , Rating: 1
If you care about the oil spill why bother posting stock points? It seems your more concern with BP's stock than the actual damages it's taking place.
Do you know what, you can help!
By helping is to stop sitting in front of your computer all day, go out there and volunteer with the clean up instead of whining like a fuckin little bitch.

Just in case if you didn't know, the size of the Pacific garbage patch is roughly the size of TEXAS ! Yes, "small" indeed.

Do we care about the oil spill? Yes
Do we care about the environment? Yes
Do we all think you are a blithering idiot? Yes

Damon Knows...
By pro5 on 6/30/2010 7:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Welcome to the world of the Plastic Beach"

By IamJedi on 6/30/2010 8:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
I find it funny that all of you think we are a threat to the planet itself. The simple fact is that once we destroy our ecosystem, we destroy ourselves. You think life won't be able to continue to evolve and recover after we're long gone? Think again, people! In reality, we should be holding the thought that if we don't save our current ecosystem, we may as well consider ourselves done for. Lol... And everyone thinks we're a threat to the Earth and the life here. Believe me, we could nuke ourselves back to hell, but life would just begin again.

Rocket to the Sun...
By chunkymonster on 7/2/2010 2:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Here's an answer to all the issues of what to do with waste in general, specifically nuclear waste; rather than dumping in the ocean, burying in a mountain, or incinerating our waste load it up into a rocket and send it into the sun.

I fail to believe that a joint government venture or private company would not be able to create an inexpensive delivery system and expendable carry system for the waste payload; problem solved.

The governments of the world have spent far more money on less productive solutions. So why not use the best incinerator of all, the sun!

only a 3rd...
By The0ne on 6/30/2010 1:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, it'll be our 3rd dead zone so no biggie. I mean 3!! Small number so who cares.

/sarcasm off

RE: only a 3rd...
By bill4 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
It's always funny
By bill4 on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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