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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Plastic Trash
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Thread: Plastic Trash Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2008 01:58 PM
sailaway21 The link below on plastic bags caused me to revisit this issue and do a minor amount of research. "Nurdles" are pre-production plastics, not trash as we commonly define it, and should certainly be kept out of the water. The plastic plates that started this thread and the plastic bags that everyone is so worried about are dealt with in the below article. It should serve, once again, as a reminder to us to not go off half-cocked based upon incomplete or erroneous information.
Series of blunders turned the plastic bag into global villain - Times Online
01-17-2008 09:02 PM
sailaway21 Idiens brings up the most relevant of facts. Most of the pollution's origin is from the shore. A fact which makes the Dog's original thesis spurious.

Utilizing biodegradable materials at sea is eminently sensible. On shore it is actually counterproductive. Plastic bags take up far less landfill space than do paper bags and neither break down within the landfill. Plastic diapers are even a better idea than cloth as they take up less landfill space and result in far less contamination of ground water supplies than do the cloth via washing.

Hydrocarbons are a naturally occuring phenomena in the ocean. The entire argument becomes facile when biologists are unwilling to say that they have no exact idea of what is truly normal in nature or what nature is able to tolerate. Again, no one is in favor of wanton pollution, but to ignore the fact that nature herself pollutes quite readily and often smacks only of human arrogance and does nothing to advance sensible policies.
01-17-2008 06:15 PM
Boasun We could start reducing the plastics by demanding paper sacks at the Grocery stores. The trees use in the paper are renewable and grown on tree farms. This is from a person whose home town main employer is a paper mill.
But the main thing is; that it is disheartening to see trash in the Oceans. But for most people it is out of sight and out of mind. They toss soda/beer cans, plastic bags, and all manners of other plastic as they cross the ocean. They don't think on how it accumulates and becomes a hazard to more then just the sea life. Boats have been disabled by plastics in the ocean. When you get a plastic bag sucked into your sea suction or wrapped around your propeller (there large sheets of plastic wrap floating around out there).
So folks pease keep your plastics on board and put them in the proper dumpster when you return to shore.
Keep Our Oceans Clean.
01-17-2008 03:18 PM
KeelHaulin The gyres of plastic in the oceans of the world are real. The problem is a result of over 50 years of dumping plastic in and it's a problem that has a scale that is as large as atmospheric CO2. But we don't stop driving cars; and we don't stop buying plastic. We can't watchdog every country that dumps it's trash into rivers and we don't insist upon cleanup of shipping containers when they are lost at sea or a ship carrying them sinks.

20 years ago every ship at sea sent their entire volume of waste including plastic into the sea. Today that's restricted to bio-degradable waste; which is a big improvement. 99% of us on this website sail in fiber reinforced plastic boats yet if we were confronted with the removal cost of our boat from the bottom of the sea should it sink; well there goes the feasibility of sailing (or concrete hulls and teak interiors would make a BIG comeback).

As far as oeanic plastic goes; the damage is done. The 'prevention' phase has pretty much passed; the real issue is how to clean it up. At some point plastic that remains in the sea will become part of the marine sediment and get trapped/recycled in the geology of the seafloor. Other plastics will wash ashore or get coughed up by birds and collected by people who clean their shores. Plastic gill nets are a bigger environmental issue but that's another thread...

If you want to make a real difference in the amount of plastic in our environment; stop buying plastic products. It's nearly impossible to do this; but reducing the amount of plastic packaging by buying larger packages (IE big box store) is a start. It's shameful that product packaging is increasing because the products are being downsized for profit.

Buy bio-degradable paper plates to throw overboard when you have a MOB situation :-)
01-17-2008 05:50 AM
Idiens That thread was about MOB and plates, this thread is about plastics in the sea - I thought.

S'way - Did you get to listen to the video that Dog posted?

I found the telling point was that when they went fishing for plankton they fished up 6 times more, by weight, of plastic particles than plankton - in the Pacific Ocean. That doesn't sound healthy for the plankton eaters anywhere in the food chain.

If the solution to pollution is dilution, then conversely a steady reduction in the dilution is an increase in pollution. At some point, the general level of pollution is likely to be a problem and when the whole ocean is up to that level, it will be a bit late to do much about it.

Not that we sailors contribute much to this, at sea. It looks like the majority is entering the sea from the rivers. So my conclusion is that on the MOB thread, anything practical that helps save a MOB life is worth trying. Conversely, on this thread, regarding Dog's linked video, I think there's a problem brewing that is not solved by the assumption that there is enough water in the oceans to handle any amount of pollution.
01-17-2008 05:47 AM
Omatako One ship sinks and puts more plastics, chemicals, pollutants into the water than the entire cruising community does in a year (I generalise).

And IIRC, LLoyds of London record at least one sinking somewhere in the world every day (or something like that).

I agree with sway. Whilst very few sailors (including me) deliberately pollute the sea we sail on, if one of my family goes overboard I'll put a trimaran through a proverbial shredder and spread the entire result on the sea if it means my loved one gets back on board.

Andre
01-16-2008 09:23 PM
sailaway21 I wonder if more birds ingest styrofoam at the local dump than do at sea.
01-16-2008 12:18 AM
therapy23 I did not read the MOB thread. Is it close by?

I have never thought of using a "debris field" but it makes perfect sense.

I think I would like to try tossing 50 or so out one day just to see what they look like. I think they would be easy to see as they would pepper the wave faces.

I think 50 to 100 would be great alternating white, day-glow orange and then green.

I think they would float a lot like a swimmer. Not nearly like a surf board, kayak or RIB! We should try it and see.

Someone said something like "so what it is a human life we are talking about saving". HAH!

The human lives (so damn many of them) are worth less and less each day.

Yes I know if it is me then it means more.......spare me that retort.

If every one on the planet dumped 10 plates in the water and then killed themselves there would be far fewer fish, birds, and animals of all kinds dying almost immediately.

Humans are so smart and yet so stupid........and so full of themselves too!!

I do not throw stuff over. In fact I am one that collects on each and every outing............BUT.........I really don't think it makes a great deal of difference. There is just too much stuff thrown, lost, whatever in the waters for me to clean it up. Just look at what is human nature. Defile an area using up the resources and then move on. Harder now that there are too many of us around these days.

That is what I think.

I think it should be tried. I might just do it...........in the name of science!!

Who wants to be the MOB in the debris field and who wants to be the MOB in the control area of ocean?
01-15-2008 11:25 PM
sailaway21 It's funny you'd mention DDT which was banned based upon science since shown to be incorrect. Even PBS's and Dioxins are under re-investigation with many scientists saying, we don't know.

Your concern about ingestation may have a degree of validity to it but does nothing to address the simple reality that animals ingest many naturally occuring substances that proceed to kill them or otherwise cause the effects you cite. Hell, dogs die from choking on chicken bones, try to get them to quit eating chickens.

The gyre's you cite are hardly unusual as nature manages to "pollute" herself all of the time. Millions of tons of mud flowing down a Malibu cliff into the Pacific is a natural polluting of the Pacific ocean. Try to stop it.

Your last paragraph is mere sophistry, sufficent to outlaw whatever the current bug-a-boo of the moment might be. Running off half-cocked and banning DDT on incomplete science has done nothing for the environment and results in the deaths of millions of people annually from malaria. The entire premise of this thread and your points above are of a similar nature of foolishness. No one is in favor of pollution per se, but the idea that man is in charge of the world's ecological condition as a prime mover is delusional and arrogant. You are right about man's lack of knowledge. It's just that some men are unwilling to admit that they really don't know for sure and are willing to call their guesses and emotions immutable fact.

"detrimental to the planet" I could not let that one pass. How the hell does anyone know what is detrimental to the planet? California could have an earthquake and fall into the ocean tomorrow, would that be detrimental to the planet? Was the ice age detrimental to the planet? What is the planet supposed to look like? We know what it looks like now and we have an idea of what it looked like a few hundred years ago, and we even have some ideas on what it might look like a hundred years hence. But we have no idea on what it is SUPPOSED to look like. If the planet is struck by an asteroid the size of Delaware it's going to look a lot different the following morning, the following year, the following decade, etc... Does that make the asteroid strike "unnatural"? You might re-read the last two sentences of my post above.

And once we stop throwing styrofoam plates overboard to spot our MOB we can move on to banning windshields. Just think of all those bugs dieing an unnatural death, probably deaths detrimental to the planet. Horsefeathers!
01-15-2008 11:13 PM
Don Huseman
going aground

Going to the San Diego customs you have a tendancy of missing the channle that leads into the customs dock. When you miss it you go past up the main channel and then you see the costoms building and have to turn around and go back on the north side of the channel . It is usualy night time and you are returning from the Newport to Insanada race. Well you cannot or just don't see the shallow sighns and SQuish you go right in the mud. You can't beat local Knowledge. Well you think that moby dick should be your sailing partner and say a few bad words . You send a guy out on the end of the boom and hope you don't dunk him like a tea bag and then you heal the boat over and try and back off. Some times your are in luck, some time you are not. Well we were lucky on both counts, We didn't teabag the crew member and we backed off. The emotional damage was done, I thought I was the worst navigator of all time.
Well I did the race about 5 years later on another boat and told the skipper about my experience in the San Diego customs mud. Well I went of watch about 03:00 and was woken up at about 05:00. Well our great navigator, great captain, helm hog, found the San Diego customs mud. We were not lucky on both counts. Since I was the heavest crew member I got to go out on the boom. Well lets just say I was a little two heavy or the keel was to small, I forgot I made the keel, Well we had to wait for
the tide and a good power boat, you know the boat the smells and doesn't have that stupid thing sticking down in the mud most of the time.
There is nothing like local knowledge as long as it is on watch.
Don Huseman
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