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Thread: Baby Albatross Stomach Contents Illustrate Our Pollution of Earth

  1. #1

    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. #2
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    lots of bottle caps, and small pieces of bright plastic. disturbing. the caps are not accepted as recycleable. they are thrown away.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    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. #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.

  5. #5
    Quote 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) 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 at 06:55 PM.

  6. #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."

  7. #7
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    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)

    Quote 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
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  8. #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.

    Quote 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)

  9. #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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    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.
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