Oprah had a special on Earth Day, which included an interview with Jacques Cousteau's grandson. The discussion was about the masses of garbage in the oceans. It was the first time that I saw pictures. The focus was on the biggest of the garbage swirls in the Pacific Ocean though all of the oceans have such a gathering place, due to the oceans' movements.
The one in the Pacific Ocean is the size of Texas, and at some point is 90 feet deep. This I cannot fathom.
And it is mostly full of... plastic. Plastic bags, plastic lids, plastic packaging.
Recently, I read that in the 60s, there were no plastic bags. I wonder what we put our trash in, or our sandwiches that we took to school (waxed paper I think), or how we carried around all our things. Where did we store our lettuce when we picked it out of the rest of the bunch?
One of the still photographs on the Oprah special was of a carp that had died. Its body was opened and inside they found all sorts of plastic including a plastic lighter (Bic style).
How did it all get in the ocean? Winds swept plastic bags. Other items were dropped on the ground and were washed with the rain into rivers and lakes that found its way into the open water.
Apparently, Americans use 300 billion plastic bags a year, which is about 300 per person. Almost one a day.
This had quite the impact - especially since I only watched 22 minutes. I watched the rest of the show later.
Which brings me around to my Earth Day pledge for this year. I don't use plastic bags to carry home the groceries - I have a grand collection of cloth bags. But I do put my lettuce and vegetables inside clear plastic bags. I am going to wean myself off. Wash the ones I do have so I can reuse them.
But I need a solution once they are done. Any ideas will be appreciated.
And when I see a plastic bag blowing in the wind, I will rescue it.
Wow! How our world has changed since 1957 when plastic bags were invented.