Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ocean Trash Vortex

Sorry this is too late for Earth Day, but not too late to make a lesson out of it. I hope you already knew about this and already built it into your lessons for Earth Day.

Enormous Ocean Vortex of Trash

Imagine garbage covering the entire state of Texas. Now imagine it floating in the ocean. Now imagine that it's not only floating, but it's swirling in the ocean and circumnavigating the globe.

"Researchers have discovered a Texas-sized area of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean. Composed primarily of plastic garbage from landlubbers, the area has become both a major threat to marine life and a frightening example of how polluted our oceans are."

There's a great animation of how this happens here on the GreenPeace site. Scroll down and click the blue map. Once you're viewing the map, click the tab in the bottom left corner to see an animation of how long it takes the trash to move around in the ocean currents.

Here's a quote from the GreenPeace site:
"Many seabirds and their chicks have been found dead, their stomachs filled with medium sized plastic items such as bottle tops, lighters and balloons. A turtle found dead in Hawaii had over a thousand pieces of plastic in its stomach and intestines. It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement. "

Remember, this is a problem that we're creating NOW and leaving the cleanup solution to our children. What a GREAT lesson this could be for your students, eh?

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