Friday, 28 February 2014

Garbage Patch

As its the centennial year of the outbreak of the first world war. Which was a conflict described as 'the war to end all wars.' I was minded of the poem we had read to us each year (in assembly at School on Armistice day) by Rupert Brooke titled 'Soldier.' The line that is most often quoted is 'That there's some corner of a foreign field, that is for ever England.' Brooke was born at number 5 Hillmorton Road, in Rugby. Each time we pass through Hillmorton on the Oxford Canal, I can't help but think back to Brooke's poem, my days at school and the firing of the Armistice gun.

But on another tack, and in a parody of the words of the poem by Brooke. There is another corner of a CaRT canal this is forever an English rubbish tip. But the problem does not end on our rivers and canals. The Great Pacific garbage patch was predicted in a 1988 paper published by NOAA  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States. The prediction was based on results obtained by several Alaska-based researchers between 1985 and 1988 that measured plastic in the North Pacific Ocean. This research found high concentrations of marine debris accumulating in regions governed by ocean currents.
We should not comfort ourselves in thinking that the pacific rim countries are responsible for the condition of the oceans. We have one giant garbage patch of our own making. The North Atlantic garbage patch is an area of man-made marine debris found floating within the North Atlantic. It was first documented in 1972. The patch is estimated to be hundreds of kilometres across in size, with a density of over 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometre.

The primary source of marine accumulated debris is the improper waste disposal or management of household rubbish. Including manufacturing products made of plastics. Debris is generated on land at marinas, ports, rivers, harbours, docks, rivers and other waterways. Pollutants range in size from abandoned fishing nets to micro-pellets used in those household abrasive cleaners.

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