by: Anonymous posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010
In the past few years, the world has taken notice of the Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, a gyre of trash estimated to be at a the size of the state of Texas and possibly as large at the United States. 90% of this trash patch is comprised of plastic.
Years of bottles, bags, toys, pacifiers, wrappers, and plastic trash from all corners of the Earth are swirling in a plastic whirlpool. Discarded water bottles from Oregon, plastic toys from New York City, flip-flops from California and plastic debris from the world over make their way from land to the ocean.
This perhaps wouldn't be too much of a problem if the plastic had no ill effects. The larger items, however, are consumed by seabirds and other animals which mistake them for prey. Many seabirds and their chicks have been found dead, their stomachs filled with medium sized plastic items such as bottle tops, lighters and balloons. A turtle found dead in Hawaii had over a thousand pieces of plastic in its stomach and intestines. It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement.
Finally, of all of the countries in the world and populations the United States makes up about 5% of the world’s population. The United States is also the world’s largest trash producing country at 1,609 pounds of trash per person per year. What this means is that just 5% of the world’s population produces about 40% of the worlds waste.