Pacific Trash Vortex Could Swallow Rhode Island and Still Have Room for the rest of New England

Rhode Island is the smallest state, about the size of Houston, Texas actually. That’s no secret, but when considering all the people and places I’ve encountered in R.I. since I first moved here in 1980, it seems a little bigger, at least geographically.

Home state ramblings aside, I was quite revolted earlier this week to see evidence of a “trash vortex” the size of two Texas’ that is currently swirling in the Pacific Ocean out in the region north of Hawaii. Everything from six-pack holders, toothbrushes and caution tape (irony?) to pinhead sized  pieces of broken down plastics litter the vortex swirling around and wreaking havoc on marine wildlife. Short of skimming the massive area with fine mesh nets to sift out the refuse, there’s not much that can be done at current to eliminate the continent-sized trash mass but there are certainly things we can do (and not do) to ensure it doesn’t get any worse.

PlanetGreen, a site operated by the Discovery Network offers these somewhat obvious but invaluable tips to keep the vortex from swallowing up more of our precious oceans:

  • The Pacific Ocean: Duh. When you’re at the beach on the West Coast, make sure to properly dispose of your trash. Scan your towel-zone for any tidbits you may have left behind—unless you want to plan a visit to the open ocean to go see them again.
  • Rivers that feed into the Pacific: Again, it’s not rocket science. Keep your local rivers clean to stop the trash flow.
  • The toilet bowl: It’s not exactly a body of water per se, but keep your non-biodegradable junk out of there too—trash has a nasty way of finding its way out of the sanitation systems and bleeding into local ecosystems, including rivers.

This PlanetGreen video of the trash vortex gives some perspective on how hard humans have worked to destroy the natural bodies that make us the blue planet.

Posted by: Nick Brown @PRnick

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