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Baby Albatross Stomach Contents Illustrate Our Pollution of Earth

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  • Baby Albatross Stomach Contents Illustrate Our Pollution of Earth

    The following picture is a baby albatross that had died and photographed on Midway Atoll, thousands of miles from any human habitation. Fed things that their parents thought may be edible, these baby albatrosses died from the pollution that we dump into the ocean.


    http://www.chrisjordan.com/current_set2.php?id=11

  • #2
    lots of bottle caps, and small pieces of bright plastic. disturbing. the caps are not accepted as recycleable. they are thrown away.

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    • #3
      Hopefully they were picking up this trash on the beaches of the world, far from home, where there are dense population centers.
      A Laysan albatross, tracked by Wake Forest University biologists, has flown more than 24,843 miles in flights across the North Pacific to find food for its chick in just 90 days -- flights equivalent to circling the globe.

      "That's quite a long way for take-out, isn't it?" quipped David Anderson, the biologist who has been tracking the flights of the Laysan and black-footed albatrosses by satellite since January. The seabirds nest on Tern Island in Hawaii, an atoll that is part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

      "Before this study, we would have never thought a bird would fly as far north as the Aleutian Islands from Tern -- and not once but four times," he said. "And he's not alone. We've had other birds make long and repeated trips east to the San Francisco Bay and back and to other locations on the West Coast -- almost to the same spot.

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      • #4
        how often do you see people tossing cigarette butts on the ground like they belong there.we made contractors smoke at a picnic table outside our home when they replaced our siding and deck.7 days at work and i made them pick up their butts before they left,400 butts tossed on the ground in seven days.bottle tops and cig butts seem to be ok to toss by many people.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rdf View Post
          Hopefully they were picking up this trash on the beaches of the world, far from home, where there are dense population centers.
          Four trips across the Pacific in 90 days. Wow. That's close to what I do, about one round trip from Newark to Hong Kong and back every month. However, those birds spend a lot more time in the air. These birds are amazing flyers.

          A study of one bird (233-O) indicated sustained speeds of over 110 km/hr [source]http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3793/is_200410/ai_n9434492/?tag=content;col1[/source] for 9 hours. The slowest recorded speed was 97 km/hour. This was also with tail winds of 70-80 km/hour during an Antarctic storm. Note that the bird was foraging and feeding at the same time.

          But it seems that the birds are not gathering the garbage from inhabited areas but from huge floating garbage patches that accumulate in certain areas of the Pacific... The birds on these remote atolls, located thousands of kilometers from human habitation, have ten times more plastic in their bellies than birds that live close to Oahu.

          http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...c-garbage.html
          Pacific sea birds dine on trash: researchers
          Last Updated: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | 8:08 PM ET Comments21Recommend40
          CBC News
          Albatrosses in the North Pacific Ocean are ingesting plastic debris from a huge floating garbage dump, even in areas far from any cities, scientists say.
          This skeleton of a Laysan albatross chick shows the plastic debris that was in its stomach. (PLoS)
          Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that Laysan albatrosses that nest on Kure Atoll, a small island in the middle of the Pacific, ingested almost 10 times the amount of plastic that birds of Oahu, Hawaii, did.

          Researchers said they were surprised that the two bird populations show such a marked difference in their garbage foraging.

          "We suspected that there may be some differences in the amount of plastic that was ingested," said Lindsay Young, "but to discover that birds on Kure Atoll ingested 10 times the amount of plastic compared to birds on Oahu was shocking, particularly since the colony on Oahu is less than an hour outside of urban Honolulu, and is much closer to the garbage patch in the Eastern Pacific between Hawaii and California that has received so much attention."

          Albatrosses nest in colonies and forage for their chicks' food over vast areas of the ocean.

          Young and her colleagues tracked the birds from their nesting sites to their foraging areas by putting miniature tracking devices on them. They also examined the regurgitated stomach contents of the chicks at the nesting sites.

          The tracking data found that the hunting territory of the birds from Kure Atoll overlapped with the floating garbage patch in the western Pacific Ocean off of Asia. The garbage gathers in an area the size of the continental U.S. called the North Pacific Gyre.

          The researchers said virtually all of the plastic pieces ingested by the Kure birds had Asian characters on them, while the garbage found in the Oahu birds didn't.

          Birds ingest industrial fishing detrius

          Most of the garbage the researchers could identify consisted of equipment from the fishing industry such as line, hooks, light sticks and plastic tubes called oyster spacers.

          While many albatrosses are able to regurgitate the plastic debris they ingest, thousands of the birds die every year from eating garbage. It can block the birds' digestive tracts and expose the birds to toxic chemicals.

          Young said the most unusual item found among the items the birds threw up was a sealed jar of face cream, with the perfumed lotion inside still intact.

          "We were sorting through these boluses right after Christmas, and there were so many small plastic toys in the birds from Kure Atoll that we joked that we could have assembled a complete nativity scene with them," said Young.

          Young's research appears in this week in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

          Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...#ixzz0hX8Lm73c
          The North Pacific Gyre is one of five huge gyres, each probably bigger than North America. The garbage patch or the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", is probably about the size of Texas floating in the North Pacific Gyre. 80% of the garbage comes from land and 20% from ships.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_P..._Garbage_Patch

          An estimated 80% of the garbage comes from land-based sources, and 20% from ships. A typical 3,000 passenger cruise ship produces over eight tons of solid waste weekly, much of which ends up in the patch.[13] Pollutants range in size from abandoned fishing nets to micro-pellets used in abrasive cleaners.[14] Currents carry debris from the west coast of North America to the gyre in about five years, and debris from the east coast of Asia in a year or less.[15][16] An international research project led by Dr. Hideshige Takada of Tokyo University studying plastic pellets, or nurdles, from beaches around the world may provide further clues about the origins of pelagic plastic.[17]
          So, the birds are getting it from ocean garbage.

          Wise.
          Last edited by Wise Young; 03-07-2010, 06:55 PM.

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          • #6
            Here are some excerpts from a recent article from USA Today...

            http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifesty...iki16_VA_N.htm

            "It's a swirling plastic cesspool," says Moore of an area called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which captivated the marine researcher after he became mired in it during a 1997 sailing expedition.

            "It's almost too dangerous to go back," Moore says of the area that David de Rothschild plans to sail Plastiki through. "We've had propellers get tangled and giant plastic spools almost put holes in the boat.""It's a swirling plastic cesspool," says Moore of an area called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which captivated the marine researcher after he became mired in it during a 1997 sailing expedition.

            "It's almost too dangerous to go back," Moore says of the area that David de Rothschild plans to sail Plastiki through. "We've had propellers get tangled and giant plastic spools almost put holes in the boat."

            <snip>

            Increasingly, confused seabirds eat floating plastic that has been broken down to pellet size by the sun's UV rays. Many of those birds roost at Midway Island, northwest of Hawaii. The place is literally a dump, says Wayne Sentman, a field biologist with the San Francisco-based Oceanic Society who did island-based studies of the problem.

            "Between birds dying due to plastic or regurgitating it to their chicks, some five tons of the stuff are deposited on Midway each year," says Sentman, who routinely found dead birds whose stomachs were filled with bulbs, flashlights, small toys and syringes – complete with needles.

            "I never use a plastic lighter now, because I found one bird had ingested six," says Sentman. "It's mind-boggling. You're in the middle of the Pacific and you expect pristine beauty. But plastic is all over."

            Plastiki will "help raise awareness, because we need our ocean," says Doug Woodring, co-founder of Hong Kong-based Project Kaisei: Capturing the Plastic Vortex, a non-profit looking at ways to attack the Patch problem.

            Woodring says that since much of the Garbage Patch is in international waters, individual countries tend to ignore the problem. But he's hoping Kaisei's research on the possibility of recovering energy resources from this plastic ocean may pull for-profit solutions into the mix.

            "There's stored energy in plastic, so if we can find ways to capture that, maybe we can solve the issue and clean up the ocean," he says.

            Moore applauds the idea but isn't optimistic. "It's a very diffuse area that would use up a lot of energy just to get to," he says. "What we need is to re-evaluate how we use our non-biodegradable plastics."

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            • #7
              Wow, I didn't realize the extent of garbage patches in the oceans. I was under the belief there was only one in the Pacific - the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Seems there are more, and multiplying.

              That picture of the baby albatross really struck home. It's a shame what we're doing to this world as we shop, consume some of what we buy, throw away the rest, and repeat. And we know what country consumes the most in this world.

              eta: That's about 66 mph for that albatross. Amazing. I wonder how fast they can fly for 9 hours without a strong tailwind. Regardless, they are truly globe trotters (fliers)

              Originally posted by Wise Young View Post
              Here are some excerpts from a recent article from USA Today...

              http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifesty...iki16_VA_N.htm
              Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
              Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

              Thanks!

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              • #8
                Yeah, it is making me think twice about buying a plastic bottle ever again. A group that I am working with, the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation in Taiwan, has built these factories that take all these plastic bottles and transform them into wonderfully soft and warm blankets that they use in their medical relief mission.

                http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...buddhist-china

                Plastic bottles reborn as blankets in Buddhist recycling centre
                In Taipei, recycling is not just socially responsible, it is a religious practice for the elderly volunteers at the charity Tzu Chi

                Members of the Buddhist group Tzu Chi Foundation prepare blankets in Taipei. They are to be airlifted to China after the earthquake in Sichuan. Photograph: Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images

                I had a vision of the future last week. It wasn't half as sexy, hi-tech or awe-inspiring as I might once have hoped, but there was a certain gritty positivism about the experience that made it feel more real than any science-fiction fantasy.

                The setting was a Buddhist recycling centre on the outskirts of Taipei, where elderly volunteers were purifying their minds (or in some cases, just passing the time of day) by unscrewing tops and peeling off labels from a mountain of discarded plastic bottles. Sorted by colour so the plastic could be broken down, granulated and reused, the bottles were destined for reincarnation as soft blue polyester blankets.

                In a separate workroom, another rank of volunteers on sewing machines hemmed the material, ironed on the logo of the Buddhist charity Tzu Chi, and folded them ready for free distribution to disaster victims and the homeless.

                And that's it. Not a very euphoric revelation, I grant you. But it struck me that Tzu Chi – an organisation I had never heard of until last week – were riding three of the biggest waves of the 21st century.

                The first was the ageing of wealthy societies. Taiwan is in the world's grey frontline, along with Japan, Hong Kong, Macau and several countries in Europe that are trying to find new ways to keep their elderly populations active, occupied and socially useful. The old people sorting through the trash near Taipei were from middle-class families. They said they did so for the exercise, for the company and because it was more constructive than sitting at home alone watching TV.

                The second was the growing importance of recycling as the world's nonrenewable resources run down. Taipei city has one of the highest recycling rates on the planet. The rules are so strict that some city residents plan their social lives around rubbish truck schedules. Even McDonald's has separate bins. Chiau Wen-Yan, deputy minister of environmental protection, told me the recycling policy was now so successful it was creating a welcome problem of incinerators not having enough to burn. On this crowded island, the practice is not just socially responsible, it's becoming semi-religious. Tzu Chi – with 50,000, mostly retired, recycling volunteers – is one of three Buddhist groups that picks up members along with the rubbish.

                The third was the growing need to prepare for disaster. If the climate specialists are right, storms and floods will become more frequent and intense. This summer, Tzu Chi handed out 60,000 recycled plastic blankets to the survivors of Typhoon Morakot, the biggest downpour in Taiwan's history, which killed more than 500 people.

                People expected more disasters on this scale in the future, the vice minister of economic affairs, Huang Jung-Chiou, told me. It turned out he too was a Tzu Chi member, who was vegetarian on Mondays and volunteered for rubbish recycling even after taking office.

                "It was an important experience," he said. "Peeling the labels off bottles was extremely boring, but it made me think 'Look at all that garbage. Who produced it?'"

                I don't know enough about Tzu Chi to endorse them, but their bottles-to-blankets activity seems a grittier form of the recycling done by charity shops in the UK. It is not exactly how I hope to spend my retirement, but facing up to absurd amounts of waste is probably what we will all have to do a lot more of in the future.
                *

                Incidentally, I can endorse Tzu Chi and also say that they are carrying out and supporting our spinal cord injury trials in Taiwan.

                Wise.

                Originally posted by rdf View Post
                Wow, I didn't realize the extent of garbage patches in the oceans. I was under the belief there was only one in the Pacific - the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Seems there are more, and multiplying.

                That picture of the baby albatross really struck home. It's a shame what we're doing to this world as we shop, consume some of what we buy, throw away the rest, and repeat. And we know what country consumes the most in this world.

                eta: That's about 66 mph for that albatross. Amazing. I wonder how fast they can fly for 9 hours without a strong tailwind. Regardless, they are truly globe trotters (fliers)

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                • #9
                  almost all of the plastic in both pictures is recyclable,bottle tops are polypropylene,polypropylene prices are skyrocketing and the recycled streams are in short supply.

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                  • #10
                    That's good stuff they're doing Wise. I wish there were more like-minded people and organizations than now exist that do similar recycling with plastics. There are a lot of conscientious people in this world, but their recycling efforts will never keep up with what we throw away each day.

                    But they keep plodding along, and that attitude is some of what's good in this world.
                    Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
                    Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rdf View Post
                      That's good stuff they're doing Wise. I wish there were more like-minded people and organizations than now exist that do similar recycling with plastics. There are a lot of conscientious people in this world, but their recycling efforts will never keep up with what we throw away each day.

                      But they keep plodding along, and that attitude is some of what's good in this world.
                      We are holding a The International Conference of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine for Neurodegenerative Diseases in the Tzu Chi Buddhist Hospital in Hualien next month. That is the headquarters of Tzu Chi

                      Wise.

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                      • #12
                        The Tzu Chi is a pretty impressive group, after reading your links about the foundation. There might be something to the pragmatic practice of Buddhism - I've known a few people who were Buddhists, and they were certainly above the norm when it came to giving to and helping other people, and the world at large. I always admired that they were so peaceful with their lives, and most didn't yearn for the material.

                        Is the foundation funded in any part by the government? Or is it all funded by the members and their relatives. I read that some government officials belong to Tzu Chi.

                        “Save people with 50 cents” - I think simple yet powerful themes can do wonders, and rally people to different beneficial causes. It works for this foundation. Just a simple theme, that's all it takes. Not spin tested, PR tested, foucs group tested; just a simple belief and a few words. That's how you save the world.
                        Originally posted by Wise Young View Post
                        We are holding a The International Conference of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine for Neurodegenerative Diseases in the Tzu Chi Buddhist Hospital in Hualien next month. That is the headquarters of Tzu Chi

                        Wise.
                        Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
                        Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

                        Thanks!

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                        • #13
                          I have heard about the floating islands of trash as far back as mid seventies. If anyone has ever seen the animated movie Finding Nemo, the trash is carried on a stream of current like the one the sea creatures ride through the ocean to find the little fish. if you look on youtube you can learn more about the floating trash, and how it is turning into an ocean of semi liquid plastic that is broken down by the salt water and intense sun after time, into a jet stream in the sea that has very little living things left larger than planktons and bacteria. It would be good if we could find a way to get it out. it eventually gets washed up on reefs atols and unihabited islands that are breeding islands for many types of sea birds.

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                          • #14
                            plastic milk jug ring. turtle swam through it when it was a baby. aside from the plastic soup, the other thing most found in the oceans and on shores is cigarette Debee. the filter material and the packaging. albatross seem to like lighters too. there were pleany of other picks, but we have all seen picks of seals with plastic and fishing line around their necks. the turtle has been floating in my hard drive for a few years now.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jim sampson View Post
                              almost all of the plastic in both pictures is recyclable,bottle tops are polypropylene,polypropylene prices are skyrocketing and the recycled streams are in short supply.
                              Yes, it seems to me that the first and logical place to start would be for all the cruise ships to stop trashing the ocean. According to studies, they contributed 20% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It seems that they should be the first to stop polluting. After all, it is the ocean that they depend on. Every cruise ship should return to port with the garbage they produce, segregated by type and process, delivered to responsible recycling factories.

                              The next step should be to create ships to collect and recycle the plastic in the ocean. As I understand it, the plastic are slowly degrading into particles and may be distributed fairly deeply in the ocean. Much the garbage is also dangerous to ships, fouling propellers and keeping ships from going through. So, a special ship may be necessary to collect and process the plastic into something useful, like blankets.


                              Wise.

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