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Friday, February 22, 2008

First Map of Human Impacts on Oceans Released - Stephen Leahy

An estimated 100 million tonnes of trash is floating in the middle of the North Pacific. This vast sea of plastic garbage stretches for thousands of kilometres -- north of Hawaii to Japan -- covering an area twice that of the U.S. Everything from fishing gear to water bottles to plastic bags are found here says Bill Macdonald of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation -- a Long Beach, California-based non-profit environmental organization. Oceanographer Charles Moore, discovered this garbage patch in the 1990s and started the Foundation to do research on the problem of marine debris.

"It's getting worse and worse over the years," Macdonald told IPS.

The Foundation's solar-powered research vessel Alguita is currently in the middle of the plastic flotilla taking samples. Cleanup is impossible, not only because of the huge volume of debris, but also because lots of marine creatures like shellfish and algae latch onto the floating islands of plastic, Macdonald says. [for more click on the heading]


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