From his trawl results, Moore measured six pounds of plastic particles for every pound of zooplankton…
Bucky McMahon, ‘Gyres: The terrifying true story of the garbage that could kill the whole human race‘ in Matter
Charles Moore began studying ocean plastic after inadvertently motoring his sailboat through the Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch on his way home from Honolulu to California in 1997. Turns out there are eight such patches around the world, each a soup of plastic detritus slowly circulating at the heart of continent-sized ocean gyres. Every year the oceans receive another forty aircraft-carriers in weight of our plastic, according to McMahon’s article.
Petroleum-based plastic doesn’t biodegrade, so a century’s worth of this miracle material is all still with us, but it does photodegrade, becoming stiff and brittle in sunlight and steadily disintegrating at sea into smaller and smaller bits, then pellets, then a fine dust which leaches toxins from the surroundings, and ultimately decomposing into indestructible synthetic molecules. Scavengers ingest the larger floating fragments, filter feeders take in the pellets and dust, and biomagnification up the food chain ensures that we all end up accumulating the those synthetic molecules and attendant toxins in our vital organs. And there is no way to remove what’s already out there in the ocean – “Going after the trash with nets is like standing on top of the Empire State Building with a vacuum cleaner sucking up air pollution”.
As if we didn’t already have enough end-of-humanity scenarios to juggle with, the article offers this:
Ebbesmeyer referred me to the book The Feminization of Nature, by Deborah Cadbury, for a comprehensive look at endocrine disrupting and estrogen mimicking chemicals. Whether diphenyls and bispherol, virtually all commercially available plastics leach synthetic estrogens, and may be contributing to a host of health problems. Indeed, it’s already happening. One’s grandfather’s penis was, on average, two centimeters longer; our grandmothers hit puberty at age 17; their granddaughters at age 12: Estrogen-saturated parody adults. A final joke before extinction. Sperm counts are down 50 percent since the 1950s. “In another 50 years we may not be able to reproduce,” Ebbesmeyer said.
In the endgame, we’ll be a race of sexed-up tweener girls and sterile dudes with little dicks wandering baffled through a rubbish-filled world. Then those poor mismatched souls will grow old and die. End of story.