Headed to the beach this summer? Don't forget to pack the sunscreen, the inner tubes, the paddle ball, and an effing trash bag the size of your house because the sad news, folks, is that you're going to need it. Parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are heading for the vulnerable shores on the west coast and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. Experts predict that the coastline of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii will see some pretty nasty debris wash ashore; California will have some, but less, as most of it will be caught in a current that will carry it to the pacific islands. How do you say "look out, there's a giant goddamn wad of plastic refuse floating behind you" in Tahitian?
There is some good news, though.
Scientists say that they don't expect any bodies to land on the beach -- any human parts that were part of the Garbage Patch will have disintegrated before reaching land.
We all know that the Great Garbage Patch has been around for a while, so why, exactly, is some of it washing ashore this summer? Apparently, it has to do with the Japanese tsunami last year. The debris from that disaster is just now making its way across the Pacific and researchers say that it will continue to beach itself until 2014. That's three whole summers of potentially very, very dirty shorelines. Officials are telling people, "If you don't know what it is, don't touch it." Solid advice.
Obviously there's no one to blame for the tsunami debris -- it was a tragedy last year and its unwelcome effects are still being felt today. But if you see some trash on the beach this summer, regardless if you're in South Carolina or Hawaii, do everyone a favor and pick it up. Well, that is, if you recognize it. Otherwise, call the cops.
When you see trash on the beach, do you pick it up?
Photo via Martin Stein/Flickr