The Great Pacific Garbage Patch mean anything to you? An inconceivable mass of trash floating in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. Discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore as he was sailing from Hawaii to California, “Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.”
“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.”
A week in a vortex of trash! 705,000 tons of fishing nets accounts for only 20% of this debris. The majority is made up of microplastic, plastic goods that do not biodegrade but instead break down into smaller pieces. Try 1.9 million bits per square mile based on the recovery made by scientists! Turtles, birds, seals and other marine life are at risk of drowning in abandoned plastic fishing nets or dying from ruptured organs after swallowing the toxic soup.
According to Captain Moore cleaning up the garbage patch would “bankrupt any country that tried it,” and as it’s in no man’s land no nation will take responsibility or fund the clean up. Never has there been more power to the people than now. Marine debris is a solvable problem, by changing our everyday choices and daily practices we ebb the flow of debris entering the oceans. Brad Pohl is one such individual who having the skills to educate through humour has produced what is an exceptional piece of work in the form of a children’s story book: “Fernando Invents Socks!”
In Brad’s own words the “book is about a young penguin and his friend Judith (a travelling chicken) who escape almost certain disaster, save their environment AND start a lucrative recycling venture through a mixture of luck, pluck and ingenuity.” The global toy industry is a billion-dollar industry with a total revenue of $84 billion, kids are serious consumers. If we educate an entire generation we create environmental awareness on a global scale. Through initiatives like international coastal clean ups, less consumption of plastic, recycling and education we can turn what seems to be a hopeless situation into a victory.
Click here to buy Brad’s book, to save marine animals and to instill a moral compass in your child’s life.
Artwork by Brad Pohl