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The Whats And Wheres Of Ocean Trash

Published on 26 February 2014

Discover the World Of Judaica

by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

Pollution — in the form of debris, toxins and agricultural run-off — is among the most critical problems threatening the future viability of the world’s oceans.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is trying to heighten awareness about what “marine debris” actually means. This illustration demonstrates the Pacific current patterns that promote the accumulation of debris and it is included in a newly released informative poster.

Contrary to what the image suggests, “There is no island of trash forming in the middle of the ocean nor a blanket of trash that can be seen with satellite or aerial photographs,” according to NOAA documents. Rather, the debris is in the form of small bits of floating plastic, sometimes difficult to see even from a boat at surface level.

Debris of this sort is ingested by marine life, and is harmful as it passes from one life form to another through the food chain.

NOAA encourages responsible disposal of all trash whether on land or water. The U.S. agency echoes the longstanding mantra of the environmental movement: “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Applying those actions to all the stuff we use in daily life can minimize pollution in the oceans and elsewhere.

Secretary of State John Kerry cited the hazards of marine debris in a speech February 25 to the World Ocean Summit underway in San Francisco. Kerry called for mobilization of a broad political coalition to develop global solutions to the three principal problems threatening ocean quality: overfishing, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

NOAA informational products on marine debris are available in multiple languages.



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Posted 2014-02-26 17:30:00