Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Human garbage in the oceans - two perspectives

First, consider this from CNN about using Stimulus money to remove ghost nets in Puget Sound.

I have along personal interest in this, as this is a project that I was affiliated with while working in Seattle several years ago. Interestingly, the story fails to mention two important factors. First, the stimulus fund in question came from the NOAA Fisheries Service Office of Habitat Conservation, and second, the Army Corps of Engineers has been leading a similar effort for some time.

Second, the 2009 SEAPLEX expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now underway. The blog is here. Oh to be young and a grad student again! Seriously, the fate of plastics in the ocean is not to be taken lightly, and as the expedition goes forward, I hope folks will stay tuned.


Thomas Joseph said...

I wonder if we can see that plastic "country" floating in the Pacific as some sort of "resource", for instance thermal deploymerization or gasification.

Philip H. said...

That would all depend on the particle size, since that influenses "harvestability." Many who have studied the patch report the plastic breaking down to minute size particles (paper punch size and smaller). If that's true, and we'll know any second now, then harvest for resue would be too costly.

Thomas Joseph said...

If that's true, and we'll know any second now, then harvest for reuse would be too costly.

To which I say: Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

Translated: I shall either find a way, or make one.

IOW, it may be too costly, at present. But nothing a little elbow (and brain) grease can't address/handle/rectify. Obviously there are going to be obstacles, but those can easily be overcome and obstacles would be present regardless of the circumstances, just in slightly different forms. I wouldn't let size deter us since the quantity is obviously there.