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Voyage to the Plastic Sea with Capt Charles Moore-1.m4v

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Published on Jan 25, 2010

The throwaway society has gone global and cannot be contained. The world cannot store, maintain or recycle plastic and all such accumulated stuff in its oceans. This is the message of Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, who spoke Thursday, Jan. 14 at University of North Carolina--Wilmington. He said the market, including recycling and deposit fees, can do a lot. But it can't fix the natural system in the ocean we've broken, he said. These throwaway plastics take a lot of space and don't biodegrade. Only we humans make waste that nature can't digest. Capt. Moores research on plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean focused worldwide attention on the area often referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch a vortex-like concentration of plastic pollution, also known as the North Pacific Gyre. Moore first observed this dynamic ocean-current-caused swirling plastic mass, while sailing from Hawaii to California 12 years ago. "There were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic," Moore said. From the front row of the university student center theater, Goffinet McLaren said she intends to bring Capt. Moore's message back home to Pawleys Island in Georgetown County, SC, about how plastic causes the loss of sea birds and ocean creatures. McLaren, who helped organize a coastal beach clean-up last September, said oceans are polluted with this man-made material and it will take a community-wide emphasis and now a world-wide effort to reduce the use of non-degradable, plastic for bags and bottles. The speaker began his talk, Research and Discovery in Our Synthetic Sea, focusing on the amount of plastics in the Pacific and the consequences this has for the oceans and the planet and its inhabitants. Plastics also are hard to recycle, the California marine researcher said. A teacher told me how to express the under-five-percent of plastics recovered in our waste stream. It's diddly point squat. That's the percentage we recycle.
Now melting point has a lot to do with this, he explained. Plastic is not purified by the re-melting process like glass and metal. It begins to melt below the boiling point of water and does not drive off oily contaminants for which it is a sponge. Half of each year's 100 billion points of thermal plastic pellets will be made into fast-track trash. A large, unruly fraction of our trash will flow down rivers to the sea.
Much of trash leading out to the sea will be plastic beverage bottles, Capt. Moore said. We use two million of them in the United States every five minutes. There is a remote island repository for bottles off the coast of Baja California. Bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), will sink in seawater and not make it this far from civilization. Also, the caps are produced in separate factories from a different plastic, polypropylene. They will float in seawater, but unfortunately do not get recycled under the bottle bills.

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