marine debris and legislations

the above ocean current diagram is from the NOAA marine debris website.  this page [http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/patch.html#5] on their website is a very helpful resource for general information about marine debris and the garbage patches.  it is my understanding that there is a lot of inaccurate information drifting around about the ocean currents and that the NOAA info is one of the best, most accurate resources for this type of info.

the Clean Seas Coalition [http://www.cleanseascoalition.org/] is an organization in California that advocates the cleanup, regulation, and prevention of marine debris.  they’re concerns are not just plastics, but every type of human generated waste that ends up in the ocean.  these photographs that present some of the most common marine debris problems are posted on their website:

”]”]surfrider.org has a useful map of the campaigns across the US that they support: http://www.surfrider.org/campaigns# the causes they support include things like adding water and sports drinks bottles to the Massachusetts bottle return program and legalizing surfing at Chicago beaches.

the US Environmental Protection Agency claims to be taking action on some fronts. their website [http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/marinedebris/floatingdebris_index.cfm] lists some of the initiatives that they have created to assess and prevent waste in our waters.    ‘public law 109-449’ which was passed on behalf of the EPA in the 109th US congress on december 22, 2006 outlines an attempt to deal with some aspects of marine debris.  the introduction to the law reads, “To establish a program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Coast Guard to help identify, determine sources of, assess, reduce, and prevent marine debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and navigation safety, in coordination with non-Federal entities, and for other purposes.”  it is an obvious attempt to do something about these issues but did it actually do anything?  attacking the source of marine debris will be the solution in the end.  however, can the government even begin to attempt to do this?  more government oversight and restrictions are not the best answers.  most of the action needs to be taken by individuals and companies that produce the materials that are polluting our waters.

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