Did you know that there is a massive garbage "slick" in the central Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas and weighs 3.5 million tons? And did you know that most of it comes from land-based garbage? And did you know that it can kill ocean animals like turtles that are used to eating things like jellyfish that look a lot like a plastic bag? Sad, isn't it?
It's the problem of plastic as the new plankton.
There are also some scary new problems emerging, such as the breakdown of garbage into tiny microscopic pieces of plastic that can build up in tissues and concentrate toxic chemicals.
The problem of ocean garbage is getting national attention today, thanks to the efforts of first lady Laura Bush and Ocean Conservancy. At a press event today, Ocean Conservancy released a landmark new study on garbage in the ocean, also known as marine debris, and Bush announced a new US government program to attack the problem of garbage in the ocean.
Bush was reportedly bothered by the large amount of garbage she saw in her visit to remote Midway Island. During her visit, she said:
"People do need to know that if you drop your cigarette lighter in the gutter, it's likely to wash out and finally end up in an ocean and, in this case, end up in the stomach of a baby chick albatross," Bush said. "And I know people aren't that aware of this, and I think if they were aware, they'd be a little bit more careful."
Thanks to Laura Bush for highlighting the problem, now let's hope the new White House program will generate some solutions. Tweet