OK, so sometimes, I read trashy magazines. I try not to wear trashy clothes. But I always pick up my trash. And recycle. Etc.
You know this. We all know this. It’s like, who doesn’t know this? My mama taught me better than that. But all up in the papers lately it’s been trash this, trash that.
Like, the other day in the LA Times, I saw this beach I totally recognized. Turns out, it was Majahual, QR, Mexico. And I definitely remember the feelings I had when I was next door at Xcalak. I wanted to pick up all the trash that I saw there, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day. According to The Times, “Sea currents act like a conveyor belt, depositing trash on a remote stretch of sand in an ecologically rich region of coral, reef and mangrove forests. Locals can only pick up the pieces, bit by bit.”
Um. That totally sucks. The article goes on to say that there may be “46,000 pieces of plastic trash in every square mile of ocean. Massive quantities of the waste, often tinier than salt grains, have created huge “garbage patches” in ocean gyres, giant dead spots formed by currents and winds that push trash toward the becalmed centers.”
And you guys, we have one here in the Pacific. It’s called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (some people call it a vortex). Some people estimate that this vortex is the size of Texas (some people say, like the size of a continent…). And I’m like, if it’s the size of Texas, why don’t we have my family reunion out there, because I’m guessing the hotels are like, way cheaper.
OK, but seriously. It’s not literally an island. If only it were that easy. This article describes it as “Instead, it’s like a galaxy of garbage, populated by billions of smaller trash islands that may be hidden underwater or spread out over many miles.” THis shit is real, and seriously serious. What do we do?
Here’s what we know. 80% of the trash in the ocean is plastic. And Capt Charles Moore says, a clean up effort “would bankrupt any country and kill wildlife in the nets as it went.” Hm. Encouraging.
I guess that means, while people are out there trying to figure out how to diminish the size of what’s already there, we have to focus our attention on not adding to it. The first thing that comes to mind is,
Stop using plastic water bottles. I see them so much in the gym, and I’m like, YOU GUYS, why?? Use a Nalgene!
Which I guess brings me to my next (related) idea, if something can only be used ONCE (condoms excluded) it’s not sustainable, so don’t use them. Plastic forks, knives, paper plates, you shouldn’t be using something to throw it away 10 minutes later. This is the thought process that has allowed all this trash to accrue! We have to change the way we think and the way we live in order to improve the condition of our ocean and our environment.
What are some ideas that you guys have?
Seahorse photo credit to Mario Chow Photography