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Engineering Materials

Report: Plastics Associations Make Progress on Ocean Cleanup

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Elizabeth M
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Re: A good start
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 4:00:23 AM
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I'm glad to see so many people are aware of the garbage patch of plastic out there in the middle of the Pacific. You'd be surprised how many people have no clue the damage plastic is doing. It is truly horrific, yes, and I actually just saw quite another horrific video of birds that live on an island in the middle of the ocean miles from no other land and where no humans are that are dying with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs. It's unimaginable, but this is happening right now.

Elizabeth M
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Re: A good start
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 4:03:40 AM
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Thank you for the suggestion, Dave. I will definitely check that out and also tell all my anti-plastic advocate friends.

Elizabeth M
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Re: A good start
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 4:11:07 AM
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Yes, Ann, it's definitely good to see the plastics industry taking initiative here. Plastic has its positive aspects as well, and I guess when it was invented it was hard to foresee the problem it would cause. If anyone can put a dent in this problem, it's the people in the inudstry themselves. I definitely look forward to hearing more about specific actions that are taken in the future. Great reporting.

jonnk
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Associations Make Progress on Ocean Cleanup
jonnk   2/25/2013 9:54:39 AM
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Progress would be actually cleaning it up.   Discussion and agreements do not actually remove the waste from the water.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A good start
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2013 12:45:21 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. No, this plastic pollution is by no means limited to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , which is located within the  North Pacific Gyre, or to shipping lanes. Plastic is everywhere in the world's oceans and beaches. My local Santa Cruz beaches would look unbelievable--and scare away tourists--if it weren't for periodic volunteer cleanups. Here's a photo of marine debris on the Hawaiian coast:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_debris

This article also mentions the various sources: lost shipping containers, windblown from landfills, runoff through streams.

" Marine litter is even found on the floor of the Arctic ocean".

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A good start
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2013 12:46:00 PM
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Thanks, Nadine: horrific is a good word for describing the Patch. BTW, that this is not the only one, since there are four other known gyres in the world's oceans, and it's not easy to detect a plastic patch using visual means alone. At least one more has been found, that one in the North Atlantic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Garbage_Patch

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A good start
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2013 5:53:29 PM
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Elizabeth, thanks for the positive support. I agree, the industry itself is best positioned to deal with many of the problems caused by its products. It hasn't always done so, especially with cancer-causing chemistries, but when it comes to recycling efforts and ocean cleanup, I think it's doing pretty well.

Elizabeth M
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Re: A good start
Elizabeth M   2/26/2013 6:20:09 AM
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You're right Ann, I think there are about five known was...was just speaking to my anti-plastic advocate friend yesterday and she informed me about this. Really awful to think about, and anything that can be done to clean up this mess is not just welcome, it is sorely needed and long overdue!

Elizabeth M
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Re: A good start
Elizabeth M   2/26/2013 6:35:00 AM
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I meant to say there are five known "gyres"...I mistyped in my previous comment!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A good start
Ann R. Thryft   2/26/2013 12:27:32 PM
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I think the first time I really got the magnitude of the problem wasn't after finding out about the gyres. That was bad enough, but much of what's there isn't visible since it's collecting sub-surface. But what got me was seeing a scene in a movie that showed vast amounts of plastic waste collecting around the mouth of a river in India, before eventually getting washed out to sea. This, of course, is one of the sources of ocean waste mentioned in the report: runoff through streams. I instantly thought of how many such streams there are in the now mostly industrialized world and realized the amount of plastic collecting in all of them was staggering.

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