Dolphin Plastic Bag

Today, Wednesday June 8, 2011, is World Oceans Day, and although it’s an official United Nations holiday, the rest of us don’t give it as much consideration as other annual environmental dates, like Earth Day or Earth Hour. But that shouldn’t be the case, because our Oceans need our attention now, more than ever.

Although there are a lot of different ways you could celebrate World Oceans Day – whether swimming, or boating, or doing anything at all in the water – there is 1 thing that can be done whether you’re on the coast or on your couch. And that is:

1. Learn About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What is it?

Garbage Patch

Arguably the most significant problem facing our Oceans – at least the Pacific Ocean – is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s received this name, of course, because there is so much plastic floating in the North Pacific Gyre, that it is almost as if there were a dense plastic sludge in the middle of the ocean, miles away from any land. The image on the right is a photograph taken of a patch of plastic garbage floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

This plastic never breaks down, and will continue to float in the water, while more and more of it builds up. This plastic is eventually consumed by fish and sea animals, and what doesn’t kill them right away contributes to Bisphenol A entering our food chain, and leading to higher levels of toxins found in humans.

What’s being done to fix it

You’d think that because this is a global issue that many nations are aware of, that a country or two would have stepped up to start a clean up campaign before it gets worse – but you would be wrong. Because no country will admit to causing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, no one will take responsibility for cleaning it up. Some point out that it is too big for any single country to tackle, and trying to collect all of the garbage would in turn kill more sea creatures. But whatever the excuse may be, no one is doing anything about it.

What YOU can do to help

Although the only thing we recommend doing for World Oceans Day is learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is knowing about the effects of throwing away plastic that makes the difference. Realizing any plastic bound for a landfill could eventually break up into tiny particles and be washed away to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to wreak havoc on many ecosystems along the way is, in my opinion, the best motivator to reduce our plastic consumption and recycle everything you possibly can.

If you have a few minutes today, or later this week, watch the TED talk below from Charles Moore about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, to get some of the finer scientific details about what the Garbage Patch means to marine life :

Do your 1 thing for World Oceans Day, the easiest thing you could possibly do, and learn what you can about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Watch the video above and share it with your friends and family, because this will motivate anyone to become an advocate for reducing our plastic consumption, recycling, and cleaning up our planet.

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