Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sailing the Seas of Polyethylene

While unrefined petroleum continues to flow out of the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico, concentrated areas of (mostly) plastic garbage have been found in the Pacific:

...and the North Atlantic:

"In 15 minutes we saw more garbage than at any time during our journey," recalled naval engineer Yann Geffriaud, 27, speaking from his yacht a few hours after the crew's return on Saturday.
"It was truly a shock, when in the middle of nowhere we came across 10 to 20 pieces of garbage every five minutes."
The Sargasso Sea, where currents between Florida and Bermuda converge, is named for a brown seaweed -- sargassum -- that proliferates on its surface, entrapping any floating trash.
Too bad nearly everything related to contemporary society has been sealed, coated, modeled out of or otherwise made with plastic. Expect this trend to only grow as populations increase worldwide and more international markets "emerge" to buy more high-end electronics and material goods, until methods for safely breaking down plastics become both viable and scalable.

Biodegradable packaging would also be a plus, especially considering it can be made from something as cheap as starch.

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