Last month, I blogged about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The concept surprised me, though through more online reading, I realized that much has been written about the trash that floats in our oceans.
Now comes a report from KITV.com, an ABC news affiliate in Honolulu, Hawaii, headlined "Scientists collect 55 tons of marine debris from Northwestern Hawaiian Islands". The article states that while scientists have conducted annual cleanups since 1996, tons of debris — more than half of it derelict fishing gear and plastic from Midway Atoll — continue to clog waters of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a 139,797 square-mile conservation area.
The total amount of debris removed from the region over the years tops 700 metric tons, which equals 1,540,000 pounds! In a quick, unscientific web search, I found several references to help put that amount in perspective:
My mouth is still agape. It’s no longer a debate about whether the vast oceans can be affected by our trash. And while my personal universe might be small, the world’s population carries enormous impact — and I am definitely a part of that.