Well, it's finally time to write what I have been putting off for no good reason. I think of myself as someone pretty environmentally aware and conscious, and like most people I had heard that, "There is a garbage patch the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean."
The patch is actually more of a plastic soup, than a true landfill style garbage site. It was discovered in 1997 when Charles Moore decided to take the rout less traveled back across the ocean after a Yacht race and ran into a plastic minefield that he would only later understand. In fact he would become the leader in studying and publicizing the problem, for instance here is a video from TED in which he explains what is going on. He has such a tireless presence that it is hard to find an article about the GPGP where he isn't quoted as a reference, and you can probably thank him solely for someone telling you about the "Garbage Patch the size of Texas in the ocean."
The questions then come up, how did all that Garbage get there? Why is it grouped together in one big patch? and What effect is it having?
Instead of looking at the area where high concentrations of plastic found and counting that as the size of the garbage patch, you could look at the amount of total plastic, and “If we were to filter the surface area of the ocean equivalent to a football field in waters having the highest concentration (of plastic) ever recorded,” Angle White said, “the amount of plastic recovered would not even extend to the 1-inch line.”
So who wants to be the Charles Moore of the Ocean floor?
Thanks for reading,
-the moral skeptic