Ocean garbage patch discovered in the Atlantic

Close-up photo of a mass of plastic bottle waste found in an ocean garbage patch. Added for artistic effect is an image of the Earth, sinking in the waste. The planet is surrounded by a red halo, representative of the planet's blood. Remember, plastic is non-biodegradable.

A new flag: Homage to human wastefulness and environmental pollution. (Photo: Flickr)

As if one legacy to human waste and carelessness weren’t enough – witness the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest garbage dump – now an ocean garbage patch has been discovered in the Atlantic, reports Red Orbit. Specifically, it’s in the Sargasso Sea, between Bermuda and the Azores Islands, but those kinds of semantics pale in significance when compared with the petroleum-based plastics that are poisoning fish, birds and, by extension, human beings.

An ocean garbage patch within the Bermuda Triangle

Apparently the Bermuda Triangle is the place where plastic refuse goes to die as well as lost ships and planes, if this newly discovered ocean garbage patch is any indication. Gulf Stream currents run toward the area, opening into regions of calm winds and seas. Unpowered ships throughout recorded history – including those in the voyage of Christopher Columbus – have experienced this rather unique peril of being stranded in the dead of the Triangle. Many sailors jumped overboard when food stores ran low and madness ran high, which may have contributed to some of the popular myths of the Bermuda Triangle. Now all it takes is a loan company to fund the average consumer’s foray into science texts to see that it’s not mysticism.

The environmental impact of the ocean garbage patch is very real

Anna Cummins and Markus Eriksen told the Associated Press that they took samples every 100 miles on their recent trip across the Sargasso Sea. Once they began to discover plastic waste with every draw of the trawl, they knew they’d discovered “the great Atlantic garbage patch. Most of the plastic bits are smaller than pencil erasers, but that’s just large enough to attract the attention of birds and fish.

The couple’s discovery has inspired them to start an educational campaign, so that people will understand the global significance of plastic ocean pollution. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ocean-born plastic waste causes the deaths of “as many as 100,000 marine mammals” yearly. Nearly 80 percent of plastic ocean waste comes from land as well, says the United Nations Environmental Program.

Not one more plastic bottle

It’s been proven that commercially bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water – and could be even more dangerous in some instances, claims the Government Accountability Office. Thus, there is no good reason for anyone on Earth who has access to clean public water to continue to buy bottled water. Millions of plastic bottles are polluting our seas and creating an ocean garbage patch wherever major currents run. This will catch up to us. The damage to the ecosystem will eventually hamper the quality of human life and we will have to take to the stars to find an inhabitable world, as prospects for such projects as hurling the plastic into the sun is cost prohibitive. Start making a difference where you live. Inaction is no longer acceptable. If you can’t afford a washable thermos for water, get payday loans – they can be had in small amounts.

(Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29212301@N00/ / CC BY-SA 2.0)

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