I’d like you to do something for me; board a boat in San Francisco, CA, sail through the beautiful Golden Gate and head southwest towards Hawaii. At first all you may notice is the pristine blue water, perhaps the Faralon Islands, and the occasional containership passing by. But after a while your eyes will perceive something so unbelievable that it will force you to do a double-take. Approximately 1,000 miles off of the western coast of the United States is the largest manmade structure the world has ever seen. Occupying a space nearly twice the size of Texas
and weighing nearly 3.5 million tons (although some reports have it weighting as much as 100 million tons) is a floating island of garbage known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
Most people have never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and for good reason: very few of the major media outlets have given it coverage and world governments have, for all intents and purposes, ignored its existence. Forming gradually over time this amalgamation of rubbish has become trapped by the North Pacific Gyre, a massive rotating ocean current that stretches from North America to Asia. The Gyre funnels in pollutants from across the ocean, trapping them in its spherical rotation where this island of refuse remains relatively stationary so that trash can come in, but it cannot go out. As a consequence of this “one way street” the patch has experienced steady growth since its discovery in the 1980′s and, as of right now, shows no signs of slowing its development.
Thanks to humanity’s rampant consumption and improper disposal of plastics, the world’s oceans have been flooded with our waste, and an estimated 85% of that waste comes from plastic. It should come as no surprise then that just over 80% of the Garbage Patch is comprised entirely of plastic. This plastic breaks down via photodegradation, becoming so small that the molecular pieces of polymer can be ingested by the smallest of aquatic organisms. These organisms form the foundation of the oceanic food chain and their contamination results in the eventual contamination of the entire ecosystem. What’s worse?-the unrestricted flow of plastics allows for invasive species to travel thousands of miles to new, predator-free environments where they can destroy natural bionetworks.
Here at KINeSYS our love of the environment obliges us to emphasize how important it is that we clean up this mess! Believe us when we say that every little bit helps, from writing your local news agency, to blogging about the subject–hell–even picking up a stray plastic bag blowing along the sidewalk makes an impact! We can all do our part to shrink this massive blemish humanity has left upon the ocean. However, if you’re looking to make a more DIRECT impact, you can help sponsor people like this woman Lindsey Hoshaw, who’s fundraising for a trip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (http://www.spot.us/pitches/238). Lindsey’s trip will give her first hand experience with the patch, so that she may document what she sees in an effort to write what we’re sure will be a masterful expose for the New York Times.
Remember guys, KINeSYS isn’t just about sunscreen, its about making our world a better, cleaner, greener place!
Take care of yourselves this weekend, and each other!!
All the best, The KINeSYS team