Trash/Thrashed

May 1, 2014

photoshop finalStars twinkling in a clear sky this early Thursday on California’s north coast with an unusually-strong breeze, too.
A warm-like wind I might add.
Although we’re not supposed to keep our high temperatures — we topped 85 degrees yesterday, a virtual heat wave for us — the weather is forecast to be pretty and calm until the weekend.
Not like some parts of the US — heavy rain and tornadoes elsewhere, so we’re pretty fortunate.

Our planet earth is in horrible shape. Beyond what our environment is doing, climate change and all, we have really, really screwed the hootch, which by-the-way, is our only home. We humans are one nasty, self-centered bunch of assholes.
Nearly half of Americans breath polluted air, according to a new study, with three-fourths of us Californians living in smog-foul cities.

(Illustration found here).

Our air sucks:

Even though the report marks an improvement in air quality over previous years, the findings seem objectively dismal.
Per the study, 8.9 percent of U.S. citizens live in the most polluted American cities and 22 out of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities had more high ozone days on average than in 2013.
In California, the Los Angeles Times reports, 77 percent of state residents live in counties with unhealthy air.
Not surprisingly, the most polluted areas include the country’s densely-populated metropolises.
The report ranked the 25 most polluted areas in each of three categories: highest ozone levels, most year-round particle pollution, and most short-term particle pollution.
Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago appeared on each list, as did Fresno and Pittsburgh.
Los Angeles was the worst city in terms of ozone pollution overall, followed by Visalia, Bakersfield and Fresno, respectively.
The top (or lowest) four spots in terms of both year-round and short-term particle pollution were filled by Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and LA, respectively.

Well, respectively pardon us — this state’s San Joaquin Valley is a hellish nightmare. I lived there in the 1980s (Fresno, Visalia, etc.) and the air was shitty even then. But 25 years of more bullshit and, dude, where’s my lungs?
And it’s not shit in the air — shit everywhere.

Even in deepest depths of the earth’s oceans.  A major European survey of the world’s seabeds found trash of all kinds piled-up all over — plastic, of course, is the most-popular trash, along with abandoned fishing junk (75 per cent of the trash), but also included glass, metal, clothing and pottery:

“This survey has shown that human litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote and deepest parts of the oceans,” said Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute.
“Most of the deep sea remains unexplored by humans and these are our first visits to many of these sites, but we were shocked to find that our rubbish has got there before us.”

Dr Howell described the large quantity of litter reaching the deep ocean floor as “a major issue worldwide.”
“Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments,” she said.
“The simplest solution to the problem is to stop litter entering the marine environment in the first place.”
Dr Howell added that while everyone can do their bit to reduce marine rubbish, governments have a responsibility to ensure waste is managed in an effective way.
“Rubbish can enter the sea from storm drains, overflowing landfills and dumping in or near rivers, so Governments need to make sure that there is limited opportunity for properly disposed of litter to subsequently enter the marine environment.”

And this little addition: …although coastal areas held the most trash, the researchers found litter 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) from shore on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and 4,500 meters (2,796 miles) below the surface in the Cascais Canyon, west of Lisbon, Portugal. Currents may sweep large amounts of trash from coastal areas into canyons which serve to funnel the trash further out to sea into deeper waters, suggest the researchers.
This crap isn’t just on the seabed. Last year, I posted a story on Australian yachtsman Ivan MacFadyen’s boat trip from Australia to Japan, and the depth of the problem: “In 2003, I caught a fish every day,” he told Guardian Australia. “Ten years later to the day, sailing almost exactly the same course, I caught nothing. It started to strike me the closer we got to Japan that the ocean was dead.”

This aspect was most-recently more than confirmed by all the hectic action off missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 — shit everywhere. From The Ecologist:

From the outset of the rescue operation there were reports of oil slicks and drifting debris spotted in the South China Sea.
When the focus shifted to first the northern, then southern, and then back to the middle of the Indian Ocean, yet more debris was spotted.
Satellite photos from different nations were strewn across news casts show objects floating in the water.
Spotter planes also reported seeing collections of floating debris.

That trash comes in all shapes and sizes, and, for the first time, the amount of trash out there is hampering all efforts to try and find the possible location of the plane.
The large chunks spotted by satellite and search plane — a few metres across — represent the smallest fraction of the sum of human waste dumped in the oceans.
What the rescue services have seen is just the waste which floats — a lot also sinks to the bottom.
In fact, the bulk of the human waste in the oceans is made up of particles only a millimetre or two across.

The problem is that the oceans are very big — and so it’s easy to hide an awful lot of human wastes out there.
However, some recent studies have shown that the amount of waste in the water column now outweighs the plankton by up to six-to-one.
In places the debris is so dense that we see reef fish, usually only found on the coastal fringe, living within the debris in the middle of the open oceans.
Drifting waste is concentrated by winds, waves and ocean currents.
You may have heard of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ in the middle of the Pacific.
There are in fact five ocean gyres which now concentrate human waste.
One of them, the Indian Ocean Gyre, covers the area to the west of Australia where the search effort for flight MH370 is now centred.
That’s what’s making the search for the plane so difficult –there’s an awful lot of garbage drifting around just there.

We’ve done this planet justice — all this in just the last couple hundred years.
Thrashed our home — and put nasty-shit in our mess kit.

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