Stanley Yacht Services: Practice Responsible Waste Disposal!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Practice Responsible Waste Disposal!

Photo | Ben Mierement, NOAA
As any yacht captain would tell you, sucking a plastic bag up into your engine or A/C intake presents a magnitude of problems - from over-heating to having to dive over the side to clear the bag in the middle of your cruise. While larger debris is an obvious hazard and can wreak havoc on a captain's day, as responsible boaters we must not overlook the impact on the environment of even minute particles of plastic floating just beneath the surface in what are known as "garbage patches" that have formed in our oceans.
After a yacht captain stumbled across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the late 1990s, scientists soon began finding similar patches of plastic waste in oceans around the world. They've since identified at least five, each fed by currents that carry plastic bags, bottles and other trash into vast vortices of seawater known as gyres.
Over time, larger plastic garbage items crumble into smaller bits which are hardly visible to the naked eye. As Erik Van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales in Australia points out, "If you sail through these areas, you will not see big lumps of plastics or rubber duckies or things like that." However, these tiny pellets of plastic garbage absorb hazardous chemicals and are then ingested by fish and birds. Needless to say, this cycle has a negative impact on our ecosystem.

Unfortunately, according to a recent study by Australia's Center of Excellence for Climate System Science:
Even if no plastic waste entered the oceans after today, Earth's garbage patches would still continue growing for hundreds of years, both because of plastic's longevity and its long transit time to the gyres.
To read more about the pelagic garbage patches, click here for the full story by Russell McLendon on Mother Nature Network.

Garbage Disposal Chart | Florida FWC
In the interim, don't pollute!

Not only are you risking ruining another boater's day, you're in violation of local, state, federal and international regulations.

Further, you are adding to the garbage patches, wreaking havoc on our ecosystem for decades to come.

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