Trash in the Oceans

Trash in the Oceans: Ours for the Keeping
It kills millions of birds each year.   It covers an area the size of Texas and has doubled in size every decade since 1950.   It is deadly not only to marine life, but to us.   It cannot be seen, it cannot be picked up, and it cannot be stopped—or so it seems.   Its name: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of three “trash continents” currently known (Dumas, 2007).   The exponential and unchecked growth of plastics in our oceans such as this is a harbinger of death for the environment as we know it.   With a clear catastrophe looming large on the horizon if no action is taken, it is the job of the world’s governments to take responsibility for the situation; they must recognize the international import of the issue, the political inaction we face today, and the hard facts of what must be done for the future.
It must be first acknowledged that this is not a local issue by any means; it is a liability and danger for all of us here on planet Earth.   The obviously simple truth is that most, if not all, of the trash collects in international waters.   The gyre in the Pacific is located roughly between Hawaii and Japan—a physical no man’s land—and ocean currents carry plastic from every aquatic dumping ground and shore on the Pacific to this location (Rockefeller Jr., 2010).   While main contributors can be clearly identified—in this case, Japan and the U.S.—not one country in the world can deny some hand in the pollution issue.   The other reason governments need to take charge of the situation is the overwhelming danger this oceanic pollution poses for us and the ecosystem.   There are several different paths trash can take upon entering the ocean.   Fish or other wildlife may consume it, not only poisoning or choking themselves, but allowing toxic chemicals to enter the food chain.   These pollutants are only magnified on each step of the food chain, and by the time it reaches the dinner tables of American families, it poses a...