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Although many scientists suggest that the patch extends over a very wide area, with estimates ranging from an area the size of the state of Texas to one larger than the continental United States, the exact size is unknown.
A gray whale that died after getting stranded on a West Seattle beach had a large amount of garbage in its stomach — ranging from plastic bags to a pair of sweat pants and even a golf ball
Minamata Disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.
Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1956. It was caused by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation's chemical factory, which continued from 1932 to 1968. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulated in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which when eaten by the local populace resulted in mercury poisoning. While cat, dog, pig and human deaths continued over more than 30 years, the government and company did little to prevent the pollution.
Dolphin meat sold to the Japanese people is highly contaminated with mercury, methylmercury, cadmium, DDT and PCBs. The Japanese government provides no warning that eating dolphin meat poses a serious health hazard.
Coalition member Elsa Nature Conservancy (ENC) of Japan is reporting that dolphin meat from a dolphin capture in Futo was highly contaminated with mercury. ENC acquired a slice of meat from a bottlenose dolphin that was butchered in Futo on November 11, 2004. ENC sent the sample to Hokkaido where Dr. Tetsuya Endo of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Science University of Hokkaido examined it for mercury contamination.
The dolphin meat was found to be highly polluted, containing 19.2ppm (parts per million) of mercury. This is 48 times higher than the maximum advisory level of 0.4ppm, set by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan.
A multi-year study discovered mercury in all 291 streams it checked, including some of the most popular for fishing in Northern California -- the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Carson rivers.
"If you're doing sport fishing and you're planning to bring that fish home to have for dinner or to barbecue, I'd be very concerned, I'd be very cautious before I would ingest any fish that might be contaminated," Dr. Clarence Braddock said.
Levels in 25 percent of the samples were above criteria for safe eating.
Scientists said old mines are the source of California's contamination.
Sources of pollutants There is no strong scientific data concerning the origins of pelagic plastics. The figure that an estimated 80% of the garbage comes from land-based sources and 20% from ships, is derived from on an unsubstantiated estimate.However, ship-generated pollution is a source of concern since a typical 3,000 passenger cruise ship produces over eight tons of solid waste weekly, some of which ends up in the patch. Pollutants range in size from abandoned fishing nets to micro-pellets used in abrasive cleaners. Currents carry debris from the west coast of North America to the gyre in about six years , and debris from the east coast of Asia in a year or less. An international research project led by Dr. Hideshige Takada of Tokyo University studying plastic pellets, or nurdles, from beaches around the world may provide further clues about the origins of pelagic plastic.
Currents carry debris from the west coast of North America to the gyre in about six years , and debris from the east coast of Asia in a year or less. An international research project led by Dr. Hideshige Takada of Tokyo University studying plastic pellets, or nurdles, from beaches around the world may provide further clues about the origins of pelagic plastic.
Originally posted by star in a jar
An bacteria has been discovered that can digest plastics and break it down but I'm not sure of the name of that particular bacteria but I know that some people don't want this information to be known for some reason. The latest that I know about this is a student who, after noting how some plastics degraded in the compost, isolated an certain bacteria to prove this bacteria could degrade plastics, and won an award at the science fair he competed in. I have not heard of him or his work since.