The Undeniable Truth About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch That No One Is Telling You

The Undeniable Truth About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch That No One Is Telling You

Plastic. Plastic. And more plastic.
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Picture this...

You're walking along somewhere, maybe it's in the woods and there's a stream nearby. You see some trash on the side by the river, but don't pick it up because it's only a little and that not going to hurt anything.

Well, what if I told you not all trash ends up in a dump, even worse not all of it ends up in a sewer, river or on a beach somewhere. Nope. It ends up in the ocean.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches for many, many miles across the Pacific Ocean and it consists of mainly non-biodegradable plastic.

And that not all, it's getting worse. Researchers have recently discovered another mass of trash in the South Pacific that's almost 1.5 times the size of Texas.

So the question is: How are these massive piles of garbage formed?

The answer lies in the way the ocean's currents move.

The Great Pacific Garbage patch is compromised of both the Western Garbage Patch and the Eastern Garbage Patch and is bound by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre-created by the interaction of California, North Equatorial, Kuroshiro, and North Pacific currents-that span an area of about 20 million square miles.

An ocean gyre is any large system of circulating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements.

What do you think of when you hear the term garbage patch?

Many people picture an "island" of some kind. This, however, is not the case.

While it may look as if this is so, its actually made up of microplastics that can't be seen with the naked eye, making the water look like a cloudy soup with larger pieces of trash mixed in and much of it (about 70%) sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

So what's the problem and how do we fix it?

Weel, the trash can threaten wildlife in several ways.

It can entangle them, this is a major problem for sea turtles who can be drowned in the big sea nets that many people use for fishing.

Birds can mistake small pellets of trash for food, and photodegeneration can cause harmful chemicals to leak into the water. Any and all sea life is susceptible to plastic but for sea turtles, it is especially dangerous.

The solution?

Well, the first answer is biodegradable plastic.

Another answer could be finding or creating a solution that removes and breaks down the plastic. Of course, there are much more than just these two, click here for more solutions.

This is a major problem that we as humans need to address before it's too late to do something about.

The ocean may be big but it won't be able to hold all that trash forever.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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18 Realities Only Chihuahua Owners Understand

Tiny tongues, toys and tummy rubs.
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Being a Chihuahua owner is a task many are not cut out for. Chihuahua hearts are big but there owners' are bigger. From constant coddling to invasive snuggles, there are some things only a Chihuahua owner understands:

1. Tiny tongue in your nose.

Be wary. Look away for a moment and your Chihuahua's tongue will slide into your nose faster than you can say stop. Just to be clear, this doesn't end at noses. Other body cavities, such as the eyes, ears and mouth are also at risk for Chihuahua infiltration.

2. Cat toys are its toys.

When your dog is tiny, it needs tiny toys.

3. Burying.

If your dog is missing, it's probably at the foot of your bed... under the covers. Oh, your bed is made? You don't think they would have been able to nuzzle down without disturbing your pillows? Wrong.

4. Claw marks halfway to your knee.

Because they want to be picked up and that's as high as they can reach.

5. Belly rubs.

Lots of them.

6. The fact that your dog is basically a cat.

They play with cat toys. They're cat sized.

7. The fact that your dog is more like a baby than a dog, or even a cat.

Okay, scratch that. Owning a chihuahua is more like having an infant that needs constant coddling. If they could talk we'd hear "pick me up, mommy" all day long.

8. The shakes.

Shakes because they're scared. Shakes because they're nervous.

9. Any miniature sized objects become toys.

Wine corks, toilet paper rolls...

10. Constant crying.

They cry when they're too excited, overwhelmed or scared which means it's always eye-wiping time!

11. Snuggles in your body's crevices

Mere cuddling is not enough for these creatures. Snuggling is only adequate when they strategically place themselves into the most irritating curve of your body- like the arch of your back or the back of your knees.

12. Being judged for the type of dog you own.

As if all Chihuahua owners participate in this type of embarrassing behavior... not saying that I don't.

13. Little dog syndrome.

14. Rain is not your friend.

Let's not even talk about thunder. There's no way you're getting your dog out of the house for a of couple hours.

15. You can't count how many times your dog has been called the Taco Bell Dog.

Yes, we get it, it's a Chihuahua. No, it doesn't need a sombrero.

16. You never go anywhere in your house alone.

Going to the kitchen? So are they! Bathroom, no problem, they'll be there to support you!

17. 'Sit' probably took you six months.

Let's just say, at least they've got the cute thing going for them.

18. The stank eye.



Cover Image Credit: Rachel C. Baxter

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Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Harvey had an impact that went beyond floodwaters.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.

Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.

I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.

It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.

Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.

Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.

Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.

Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.

Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.

Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.

With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.

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