Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

14 February 2012

Underwater Garbage

while swimming at my local aquatic center,
I noticed a clump of hair suspended, about 
a foot underwater,
a band-aid somewhere near the bottom
a discarded flipper.

I am certain that the next time I swim,
that junk will be gone,
scooped out by the diligent pool workers
paid by the same local tax money
that made this fabulous olympic size pool possible.

No swimming tax payer would tolerate
that junk in their pool.

So why oh why
do we tolerate this
in our oceans? 

This last picture comes from an article at a site called Sprinterlife,
which includes some pretty horrific other pictures. 
Another chilling source of pictures of the garbage "soup"
in the Pacific come from a photographer called Mandy Barker

I'm not absolutely sure why folks are suddenly so horrified by the amount of garbage
in our seas.  We've been tossing our refuse into them for
generations.  I remember once, when I was at a museum
in Girne (Kyrenia), North Cyprus, they had an exhibit of
nut shell that were found in the hull of an ancient boat
found on the sea floor -- they were the refuse
from ancient sailors eating snacks and tossing away the shells.
The problem is: our garbage today isn't biodegradable.

Sprinterlife has three suggestions on how we might curb
the increasing masses of garbage in our seas.  Here they are
with a couple additional thoughts from me:
1.  Recycle.  My current city has launched a very serious recycling 
campaign, and I'm very proud of them!  They've made recycling 
very easy, and more people are getting on board and thinking before they toss.  
If your city doesn't do this, perhaps you and your friends and neighbors 
should give your local government a good nudge to change that.

2.  Stop using plastic!  I refuse to drink bottled water.  I'm even trying to start to buy
my milk in glass (from local producers)  We should have more local folks using, and reusing
glass containers again.

3.  Make the transition to using biodegradable products.

I would add: think local.  If you're buying from local producers, 
there is less of a need to use packaging that has to withstand
long-distance travel.  After all, we think local when we think of our water:
if we want to swim in our swimming pools,
we keep them clean.  If we have a water reservoir as a water source,
we work hard to keep that clean too.   
The term "glocal" applies here:
what we do locally can and should have a global impact.  Including how we treat our vital resources,
like water,
and energy.

I don't know if we can actually clean up the messes in our oceans,
but we can sure make a strong effort to curb it.
And I agree with Sprinterlife, we have to do it NOW!

1 comment:

laurak@forestwalkart said...

great post!

it (always!) amazes me...when we go hiking...all the trash that litters the trails.

if someone can carry a water bottle filled with water...why do they toss it when it's empty?

smoking cigarettes while hiking? the butts are proof!

tires, cans...LOTS of cans, candy wrappers, bottles, those plastic things that hold a six-pack...even dirty diapers can be found everywhere! by land or sea. what a shame!

good 'earth awareness' post. and not just for earth day! every day!