Come see our giant toxic stew!
1,500 miles wide, floating in the Pacific, made of all your plastic crap. Bring the kids!
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, October 26, 2007
Because nothing makes you feel better about being a living, breathing, plastic-licking human on this planet today than the thought of a massive, eternal, slowly swirling vortex of noxious garbage the size of a continent and the shape of death itself, just floating out there in the middle of the Pacific ocean, mocking life, humanity, God. Mmm, gloomy.
Have you heard? Did you see? It's called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (or Pacific Trash Vortex, among other awesome nicknames) and it's a staggering phenomenon indeed and after reading up on it, I fully believe we must now revise our master list. Because surely this thing must be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the grand sociocultural melting pot of our time. Except for the fact that it's, you know, revolting.
Is it not true? Is there anything more impressive than the idea that you can, say, toss away your little Calistoga bottle or your plastic Safeway bag or your meth syringe or old iPod case or cigarette lighter or DVD wrapper here, and it will somehow, through a miraculous combination of time and wind and wastefulness and the flow of nature's beautiful eternal pulsing rhythms, wend its way 1,000 miles out to sea and then, well, just swirl around, slowly breaking apart and poisoning all life surrounding it and joining with the mountains of other plastic crap spewed out from our friends and enemies and neighboring nations worldwide? Is this not, in its way, profoundly moving? You bet it is.
But oh holy hell, it certainly is impressive. At least 1,500 miles wide (give or take, could be much larger, no one's quite sure because it's a bit difficult to measure), 30 meters deep, 80 percent plastic, and 100 percent appalling. Truly, there is nothing else quite like it on Earth.
Oh sure, we've all heard about the epic heaps of garbage we pack away on land, those reeking gaseous toxic rat-infested landfills the size of the Grand Canyon that dot our landscape like the devil's own acne, so poisonous and so foul and so deadly to all life that we have to find holes miles away from human life just to make it bearable.
The rest is here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2007/10/26/notes102607.DTL
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