Drowning in Plastic

 A shark carcass on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, where plastic particles outnumber sand grains until you dig down about a foot  Photo: ALGALITA MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

A shark carcass on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, where plastic particles outnumber sand grains until you dig down about a foot Photo: ALGALITA MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

Telegraph.co.uk. 24 April 2009. Richard Grant reports on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and a new expedition that aims to make us reassess our relationship with plastic.

Could there be an even bigger Garbage Patch than the one found in the Pacific? Containing even more than 3 million tons of floating plastic?

… Dr Pearn Niiler of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in San Diego, the world’s leading authority on ocean currents, thinks that there is an even bigger garbage patch in the South Pacific, in the vicinity of Easter Island, but no scientists have yet gone to look.

The French cultural theorist Paul Virilio observed that every new technology opens the possibility for a new form of accident. By inventing the locomotive, you also invent derailments. By inventing the aeroplane, you create plane crashes and mid-air collisions.

When Leo Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, started tinkering around in his garage in Yonkers, New York, working on the first synthetic polymer, who could have foreseen that a hundred years later plastic would outweigh plankton six-to-one in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

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