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Swirling plastic vortex menaces sea life

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posted on Nov, 6 2006 @ 07:20 PM
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It would appear that the way we humans "decorate" the earth is having more profound effect on life in the earths waters.Next time people wanna complain about earthquakes and hurricanes,we should take a look at how we treat the world and the life in it.


(CNN)-WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Old toothbrushes, beach toys and used condoms are part of a vast vortex of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, threatening sea creatures that get tangled in it, eat it or ride on it, a new report says.
www.cnn.com...



Because plastic doesn't break down the way organic material does, ocean currents and tides have carried it thousands of miles to an area between Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast, according to the study by the international environmental group Greenpeace.
www.cnn.com...



This swirling vortex, which can grow to be about the size of Texas, is not far from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, designated as a protected U.S. national monument in June by President George W. Bush.
www.cnn.com...



The Greenpeace report, "Plastic Debris in the World's Oceans" said at least 267 species -- including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish -- are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
www.cnn.com...



The new report comes days after the journal Science projected that Earth's stocks of fish and seafood would collapse by 2048 if trends in overfishing and pollution continue.
www.cnn.com...



"Plastics in the oceans act as a toxic sponge, soaking up a lot of the persistent pollutants out here," Smith said. "We've seen photos of albatrosses who eat this plastic ... Even though their stomachs are filled, they end up starving because there's no nutrients in there."
www.cnn.com...




posted on Nov, 6 2006 @ 07:29 PM
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That is a lot of used condoms!

So who wants to go plastic diving! I would, probably pays good to, to dive and grab plastics. To cheap to pay for that though meh, no we need more bombs!



posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 05:06 AM
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This comes four days after we are warned that theFish population will be gone by 2048.

I'm totally against the pollution of the sea, but just don't feel that this story sounds right.

I'm struggling to understand what the storys saying because if I imagine a vortex it'd be like a tornado but in the water, but why would plastic cause that? But then further on in the story they say it's just floating along on the surface, which isn't very vortex like.

Also, anyone who's seen Blue Planet will agree that any cover in the ocean will promote life, not hamper it. Fair enough some animals will die eating it, but won't there be a net gain in sea life as their are more breeding grounds for fish?



posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 06:44 AM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
This comes four days after we are warned that theFish population will be gone by 2048.

I'm totally against the pollution of the sea, but just don't feel that this story sounds right.

I'm struggling to understand what the storys saying because if I imagine a vortex it'd be like a tornado but in the water, but why would plastic cause that? But then further on in the story they say it's just floating along on the surface, which isn't very vortex like.


I think it's the currents in the ocean that create a vortex not the plastic. The plastic gets caught up in them and go round and round without escaping. I guess kinda like the "Gulf Stream" maybe but on a smaller scale and in the Pacific. But you probably aleady know that.


Originally posted by byhiniur
Also, anyone who's seen Blue Planet will agree that any cover in the ocean will promote life, not hamper it. Fair enough some animals will die eating it, but won't there be a net gain in sea life as their are more breeding grounds for fish?


Any ecosystem is delicate and to work, needs to be as balanced as possible for all animals. I dont know why you would think that this plastic vortex would be a good breeding ground for fish.



posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 07:22 AM
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Originally posted by Xeros
I think it's the currents in the ocean that create a vortex not the plastic. The plastic gets caught up in them and go round and round without escaping. I guess kinda like the "Gulf Stream" maybe but on a smaller scale and in the Pacific. But you probably aleady know that.


Currents don't go round and round, they go from one place to another... isn't the gulf stream a current that brings hot air to western europe? So I'm right in thinking that there is basically an underwater tornado of plastic that can grow to the size of Texas?


Originally posted by byhiniur
Any ecosystem is delicate and to work, needs to be as balanced as possible for all animals. I dont know why you would think that this plastic vortex would be a good breeding ground for fish.


Because I don't think it's a vortex like you or I would imagine, as I've described above, but just a word they've used to give the story some edge. When they say that things like nets and crates are floating around I can vividly recall the exact point where David Attenborough says that they are always sort out by fish as breeding grounds and some fish will even use them as homes. So if there is more 'environment' in the desert that is the open seas then there is going to be more fish produced. This would give more food for the rest of the ecosystem, that we were told four days ago was going to die. Also, the only death they say is from a seagull eating plastic, so if more fish are going to breed then this would have less chance of happening.



posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 07:48 AM
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Not that I know anything about ocean currents, but I think it is a combination of two currents that basically work in a way as to form the vortex, which is just a inactive zone between the two competing currents. For example a current north of the spot going west that curves slightly to the south and one south of the area going east that curves slightly to the north. I could be totally wrong as well though.



posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
Currents don't go round and round, they go from one place to another... isn't the gulf stream a current that brings hot air to western europe? So I'm right in thinking that there is basically an underwater tornado of plastic that can grow to the size of Texas?


Currents can go round and round but something the size of Texas in the Pacific ocean is still must be a relatively specific area. This is the south pacific where a vortex is clear:-




Originally posted by byhiniur
When they say that things like nets and crates are floating around I can vividly recall the exact point where David Attenborough says that they are always sort out by fish as breeding grounds and some fish will even use them as homes. So if there is more 'environment' in the desert that is the open seas then there is going to be more fish produced. This would give more food for the rest of the ecosystem, that we were told four days ago was going to die.


I think that crates etc are good homes for fish if they are anchored on say a reef where ther is other food, rather than swirling around. I doubt it is as you might be imagining, a huge dense area of swirling plastic.


Originally posted by byhiniur
Also, the only death they say is from a seagull eating plastic, so if more fish are going to breed then this would have less chance of happening.


I know from seeing a program the other day, that turtles frequently die from ingesting plastic bags as they look like jellyfish, a staple for some species. Their esophagus is designed like a one way system (below)

so the bags often become tangled with no way to escape, which eventually starves the turtles. I'm sure there is other marine life that has similar problems but it's certainly not just seagulls.

[edit on 7-11-2006 by Xeros]



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