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Shipwrecks litter the coastal waters of the U.S.  (Source:
Arggh yee, maties, she be a toxic PCB drifting off the starboard bow!

DailyTech has previously reported about the rising epidemic of tech trash.  The export of tech trash, largely from the U.S. to third world nations, has become an international problem which has gotten so bad the U.S. Congress is considering tough new measures to curb the effects.  However, while some tech trash may be getting dumped on foreign soils, there's another major realm of tech trash that is only now beginning to be fully recognized -- the sea.

Every year boats, barges and ships sink in coastal waters around the U.S. due to accidents, weather damage, age or an owner's financial duress.  The majority is never recovered and lay rotting on the seabed.  The problem has taken on high-tech ramifications, as modern boats often have onboard computers and circuitry, much of which contains toxic chemicals.

Doug Helton, acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program describes, "You go to any harbor or shoreline in the country and you'll find derelict and abandoned vessels."

There may be as many as 10,000 sunken vessels surrounding the U.S. coast, with 400 to 500 being sunk in 2005 alone, with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.  The wrecks typically leach toxic petroleum into the surrounding areas says Mr. Helton.  And while the petroleum chemicals will drift away, the PCBs onboard the ships will not and continue to leach toxic chemicals.  Mr. Helton says that these chemicals move up the food chain and are likely to eventually be ingested by humans.

The wrecks can also destroy local ecosystems.  The leaching iron can attract corallimorph, organisms in the same family as corals and sea anemones, which attack and kill corals and other sea life.  This phenomenon was recently verified by Thierry Work, a wildlife disease specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey, and his colleagues, in the journal PLoS One. He describes, "It's a carpet of living animals that destroyed all the other organisms underneath.  We were able to show man-made structures were responsible for the growth of these organisms."

The wreckage can also directly kill fish and other sea creatures.  According to Keith Criddle, a marine policy professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks the leading killer of endangered monk seals is fishing equipment aboard wrecks.  A 2004 report titled "An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century," the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy found that more than 267 different species were being adversely impacted by derelict fishing gear.

Professor Criddle and others have called on Congress to improve efforts to remove the marine trash, particular the fish equipment and toxic tech trash.  They say the biggest need is for a cohesive plan as their currently is a lack of organization in efforts.  While many states have fines for abandonment, often they are not strictly enforced and it’s less costly to take the fine that take apart the ship.  Breaking down a 40 foot yacht can cost as little as $5,000 to $10,000, but often it can cost up to 100 times that amount. 

Recently, Washington State has funded some efforts for boat removal and the U.S. Congress has given the NOAA some funding to remove boats from coral reefs.  While these efforts are helping, they cannot keep up with the pace of sinking ships, without more help.

One additional undesirable side effect of the PCB leaching has also surfaced -- "increased catchability".  While this may sound like a good thing, it’s a headache for fishers, as it causes regions to quickly be depleted of fish and lowers their overall revenue.

Mr. Helton says that with new government efforts technology aboard the ships and any fishing gear could be secured so the ship was not harming the environment, even if there were not funds to totally dismantle the ship.  He urges citizens as well to remember, "when a vessel is lost it's not gone."

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First global warming
By derwin on 10/3/2008 8:52:11 AM , Rating: 5
now this...
this world is coming to an end one coal fired plant and one sunken ship at a time! (Yeah, global warming is real, not saying anything about that... just thought it fit nicely into the category of overexagerated and prone to fear mongering... such as this seems to be)

In all seriousness, I wonder to what extent such a fractional amount of toxicity will have. I am not trying to downplay it, I am only curious.

RE: First global warming
By InvertMe on 10/3/2008 9:17:27 AM , Rating: 5
This isn't fear mongering. It's reporting on a real issue. People create too much pollution. It's a fact. Some people are just too scared, lazy or stupid to know that.

I am not saying global warming is true or false or that some electronics in the sea will kill us all. But people need to learn to live cleaner.

If you really doubt mans impact on the environment go spend a few weeks in China - it was a real eye opener for me. People need to change.

Really though in my oppinion this problem needs to be addressed another way. There needs to a "greener" way to make electronics. I used to work for Fairchild Semi and just the chemicals we used to clean PCBs was incredibly toxic. Later on they found a way to do it with SOAP AND WATER. I am sure there are better materials and manufacturing techniques to make most electronics - we just need to figure them out.

RE: First global warming
By invidious on 10/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: First global warming
By InvertMe on 10/3/2008 10:19:09 AM , Rating: 5
by invidious on October 3, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Actually thats not a fact, its an opinion. Last time I checked life was still going on. Thus the point of too much has not yet been reached. Power to the polluters!

Enter the "stupid" part of the population.

RE: First global warming
By odessit740 on 10/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: First global warming
By InvertMe on 10/3/2008 11:07:32 AM , Rating: 5
Okay Mr. Smart guy. Why don't you go crawl in a cave and invent some SOAP AND WATER to do the clean part of manufacturing electronics. When you come up with it, come on out and let us know. We'll use it. Until then, STFU!

Actually that is my job now. I assist with creating better less wasteful processes in a mid sized manufacturing plant. Hopefully the work I am doing will translate into other fields and types of manufacturing. So far most (not all) of the changes we make result in reduced costs mostly due to less wasteful processes.

I am a tree hugger - I fully admit it. I choose nature over waste any day of the week. That said I also fully enjoy the benefits of modern life. There is a balance there and I am sure people can meet it.

RE: First global warming
By mindless1 on 10/4/2008 5:11:56 PM , Rating: 3
You choose to consume electronics, use power, just to come here and post conversations about news topics.

Sure, you're enjoying the benefits of modern life, like everyone else, and that's why we have so much pollution. There is no one group of people to blame, it's all of us with these ideas that our lifestyle matters more, that we can demand some arbitrary standard of living and insist that only the means to have that would change.

There is nothing to admit, you're not a tree hugger and do not choose nature. Neither do I, but at least I'm honest with myself about it.

RE: First global warming
By chmilz on 10/3/2008 11:18:21 AM , Rating: 5
Where the HELL do you morons come from? Do you use the preview button? Don't you realize how stupid you sound? F*ck you're ignorant.

Anyway, on to my argument...

The reality is and has been for some time that we need to develop cleaner ways to do everyday things. Our consume-everything lifestyle, multiplied by population, will eventually overwhelm nature. Even as most industries are already finding ways every day to clean up their processes, this article is simply pointing out one aspect most of us may not have considered.

RE: First global warming
By JonnyDough on 10/3/2008 11:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Humans impact nature, mostly because we are a PART of nature. We create NON-ORGANIC compounds, everything else that is living only creates organic wastes which are easily cleaned by nature. We need to learn to be more responsible or nature suffers. When nature suffers, obviously we suffer too. We are afterall a PART of nature.

RE: First global warming
By invidious on 10/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: First global warming
By insurgent on 10/3/2008 7:20:37 PM , Rating: 3
Riiight, because dead rivers, smog, etc isn't disastrous enough, let's wait til the sh*t really hits the fan. Until then pollute all you want... in this guy's yard as much as possible, at least keep our own yards clean.

RE: First global warming
By AssBall on 10/4/2008 5:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
No thanks. Stop supporting dumb ass laws that have this mentality. I like my oil and smoked filled yard... you can f- off with your silly and scientifically unproven legislation ideas.

RE: First global warming
By JonnyDough on 10/3/2008 11:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
Define "fact."

In science, a fact is a peer-reviewed statement that has been re-tested and proven to be true by a large majority.

Some facts can exist for a long time and be debunked at a later date. i.e. the world is flat.

It is widely agreed upon that ANY pollution is TOO MUCH pollution, as long as it's detrimental to nature it is also detrimental to us. "People polluting too much" is considered FACT by most Americans, it's why there's a huge green movement in all industries right now. If you don't think that people are polluting too much you're obviously a minority with your opinion. As for the rest of us, we can see the obvious. I'm sorry you can't. You'd rather sit here and argue semantics than actually get on board and try to make the world a better place.

What is truly sad, is that there are so many people with an "I-don't-care attitude" that are just taking up space and making life less enjoyable for those of us who do care and who want a brighter and better future for our children.

I for one believe in privacy, freedom, the right to be respected. I do not believe in ownership, I think capitalism is evil and so is money. Some might think of me as a hippy and that's ok. I'm a marketing major who dislikes capitalism, go figure. The fact is that those people fail to see the bigger picture of how money really is the root of all evil, and how it corrupts our society.

As a child, I was taught to share. It was a valuable lesson that is no longer part of American society. We simply do not share, unless we get a tax cut out of it which actually just means more money for us.

It is time to learn what honor and respect are. Get some.

RE: First global warming
By theapparition on 10/6/2008 7:06:48 AM , Rating: 2
As a child, I was taught to share. It was a valuable lesson that is no longer part of American society.

Sharing was never part of the American society, however, there once was this place called the USSR.........

RE: First global warming
By Gumby16 on 10/3/2008 2:42:27 PM , Rating: 4
All I can say is this- the next time we need to dump some trash or sink a ship, we should do it on your lawn. We'll leach the chemicals into your groundwater so that your dog can get leukemia, your kids can have learning disabilities from heavy metal poisoning, and your yard can look like New Orleans after Katrina.

You're right about one thing. Life goes on. But you miss the bigger point. The QUALITY of life goes down. If you want a shorter life and an ugly backyard, that's fine. We'll dump in your neck of the woods.

There is also a problem with your argument. Nothing in the basic argument was opinion. FACT- unrecovered ships are a growing issue in coastal waters. FACT- they are leaching substances that ultimately impact the ecosystem (that means you since you're part of the system), mostly in a negative way. FACT- if we removed these items, we could avoid many of the problems associated with chemical leaching. Where, exactly, is the fear mongering? Just because someone points out a problem and wants to find a solution does NOT mean they are fear mongering. And just because someone cares about the environment they live in and wants to keep it clean does NOT make them some kind of evil, anti-capitalist tree-hugger.

RE: First global warming
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/3/2008 10:19:13 AM , Rating: 4
No, I don't think that's the real problem....
It’s a conspiracy. See these people do not want sea life to gain knowledge on educational tools like computers. They are afraid that the sea life will advance to quickly and then we would have to fight them or compete for jobs with them. I mean imagine if sea life were to advance to our level of education or more…. Then sharks would be adding lasers to their own heads.

RE: First global warming
By Murloc on 10/3/2008 12:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
you are the only one who got it.

the microfish corp. would just pwn everyone, including google, and we poor humans would be cleaning the station bathrooms...

RE: First global warming
By PhoenixKnight on 10/3/2008 1:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
And with global warming and melting ice caps slowly raising the sea level, that sea life will eventually conquer our cities when they become submerged. Who's to say that they haven't already reverse-engineered our technology and are melting the polar ice caps to flood our land and creating powerful hurricanes to destroy our cities.

It's only a matter of time before they develop the reverse-scuba suit and sharks with lasers on their heads roam our cities, shooting and eating everyone. I say we heavily pollute our oceans with toxic chemicals to kill the sea life before it's too late.

RE: First global warming
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/3/2008 6:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I heard rumors that the FBFL (Federal Bureau of Fin Life) is currently planning to get all fin life creatures together at strategic points in the ocean to flap their fins in union to create tidal waves of biblical proportions. It should be a very spectacular sight to see...and very deadly too.

RE: First global warming
By NullSubroutine on 10/5/2008 1:21:33 AM , Rating: 2
melting ice caps slowly raising the sea level

Cap s ?

Try this at home, take a cup full of water and drop an ice cube in, now does it overflow the cup after it melts? That's right it doesn't. The Artic Ice cap (which is just ice frozen in the north pole) melting will not raise sea levels.

RE: First global warming
By foolsgambit11 on 10/5/2008 4:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely true. Except for everything you said. Ice caps, technically, refer to small permanent ice found over land (large permanent ice formations are called ice sheets). If we assume the OP meant 'polar ice caps', then, while a large portion of the Arctic polar ice cap is pack ice (that's the ice that's over the ocean, which wouldn't substantially affect sea levels), there are substantial regions that are over land, such as in Greenland. Those areas have lost ice coverage since the start of the satellite age. (I'm not going to debate about how they've been losing glacier coverage since the Maunder Minimum, &c.... This is just about the continued impact of the trend we see right now.) The only reason people may not include those areas in the 'Arctic polar ice cap' is because they aren't connected to the North Pole by a continuous layer of ice. But, of course, they used to be just a few years ago. Cleverly warmed out of including them in the strictest definition, we are.

Additionally, although the Antarctic ice cap isn't currently melting (it seems to be growing, in fact), were it to melt, it would be responsible for sea level rise. (You do know there's a continent down there, yes?) I assume that's what your bold 's' caps comment was alluding to? His post did make the assumption that global warming would occur, and logic would dictate that, given that assumption, the southern ice cap would also be affected in the future.

So if you want to argue against his statement, you should go after the weak point. I think we can all agree that if the ice caps (and yes, there are two of them) melt, it will result in sea level rise, crust rebound notwithstanding. And we can agree that at some temperature, the ice caps will melt. The point you should contradict is the argument that we will see those temperatures thanks to global warming.

Just a suggestion.

RE: First global warming
By arazok on 10/3/2008 10:44:53 AM , Rating: 2
People create too much pollution. It's a fact.

It’s not a fact, it’s a belief. Could you tell me what “too much pollution” is? What is the acceptable amount of pollution? I have a feeling that until there is zero pollution (an impossibility), people will always point to any pollution and say “see, we’re destroying the planet!

But people need to learn to live cleaner.

Aren’t we already doing that, one step at a time? Catalytic converters, efficient engines, ultra low sulfur fuels are some examples of innovations that help us live cleaner. It’s human nature to employ better tools once they become available, so why is there this assumption that we don’t?

Nobody pollutes for the fun of it. It’s a by-product of modern life, which has brought us unprecedented life expectancies, and living standards that even King couldn’t dream of just a few hundred years ago. If pollution is the price for this life style, I’m all for it.

RE: First global warming
By Plester on 10/3/2008 11:02:45 AM , Rating: 2
No doubt this is a problem, but probably not a worth stopping the presses yet. If people don't live on the coast they tend not to give a sh!t about this kind of thing. If you eat fish then you should care. There are plenty of species of 'rockfish' which usually show up on the menu as 'sea bass' which live in and around wreck sites. Eat a bunch of them or go home and lick the back of your motherboard, same difference.

If you do eat a buch of fish then mercury is an issue, but the grand daddy of them all is plastic in the ocean:

RE: First global warming
By Shadowmaster625 on 10/9/2008 2:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
RE: First global warming
By Ammohunt on 10/3/2008 1:56:43 PM , Rating: 1
China != Western Civilization nice try to equate the two. This is the problem with most cleanup efforts from the environmentalist movement. Western civilization; some of the lowest polluters and spoilers on the globe pay the economic price while third world shitholes continue to spoil their country and the world. I and a lot of other people aren’t buying into it.

RE: First global warming
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2008 5:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
But people need to learn to live cleaner.

Do me a favor. Can you give me 5 examples how you " live cleaner " than the rest of us on a daily basis ?

Honest question, I expect an honest answer.

RE: First global warming
By darkweasel on 10/4/2008 4:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
Though I'm not the GP, I'll reply with what I do.

1) I bike to work every day. Benefits: I save money on not having a 2nd car and I get exercise.

2) Instead of buying household cleaners with toxic ingredients, I just make my own using water and vinegar.

3) I buy my most of my produce from local farmers (CSA).

4) I buy used/2nd hand whenever I can to save money and avoid wasting.

5) I collect rainwater that falls on my house in barrels for use in watering my lawn and trees, instead of using water from the city.

In general, my goal is to save money. Usually that corresponds to living "green", though I don't think of it like that.

A little rant: I think of myself as an environmentalist. However, it annoys me how much the global warming movement has co-opted the environmental movement. I am far less concerned with how much CO2 we put into the air as I am with what "real" pollutants are put into our air and water.
CO2 in the air isn't going to contribute/cause cancer, brain damage, etc where as some of the waste from modern industry actually does.

I can't understand or tolerate people who believe it is OK to dump toxic waste into the environment. How they can think that won't harm someone else...

RE: First global warming
By xsilver on 10/5/2008 2:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
Here's another honest question.
If you're a naysayer, can you name the last 5 times you changed the way you do something/believe based on "evidence" ?

I always get the feeling from them that we're at the height of civilization or that evidence needs to be 110% before it is even considered.

RE: First global warming
By Reclaimer77 on 10/5/2008 4:07:57 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure you what your asking or if you ever understood my point.

I'm tired of seeing these 'hollier than thou enviro types come on here and spew a bunch of self serving bullcrap, when the fact is they probably have the same high standard of living as the rest of us. Use just as much electricity. Drive a car. Eat food. Drink out of plastic bottles. Take hot showers. Own a house. etc etc.

Basically unless your living in a damn cave, I don't want to hear your bullshit about " doing our part " and " being more responsible " than the rest of us. Because your just being a big hypocrite.

Anyone can talk the talk. Start losing the same creature comforts and living standards that you condemn us for enjoying, and I bet you'll change your tune real damn quick.

RE: First global warming
By xsilver on 10/5/2008 6:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
I like how "environmentalists" are always considered hypocrites because we are "holier than thou" but then the naysayers never put themselves in a position where they can be wrong. nice.

now its your turn.

the guy above already specified your 5 things that he does to live cleaner, but there's no pleasing you; and the inability to reciprocate justs makes my point.

Its much easier to say no than go out on a limb and say "its possible"

RE: First global warming
By Reclaimer77 on 10/5/2008 9:44:31 AM , Rating: 2
the guy above already specified your 5 things that he does to live cleaner,

Except I wasn't asking him. The person I was asking, who was being hollier than thou, still has not answered my question.

RE: First global warming
By nah on 10/3/2008 11:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
actually--with respect to global warming-from wiki
Although it is difficult to connect specific weather events to global warming, an increase in global temperatures may in turn cause broader changes, including glacial retreat, Arctic shrinkage, and worldwide sea level rise. Changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation may result in flooding and drought. There may also be changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Other effects may include changes in agricultural yields, addition of new trade routes,[77] reduced summer streamflows, species extinctions, and increases in the range of disease vectors.

lots of probabilities here--

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