White leaves

Stanley Park is a lovely little joint. I take my baby to the park to stare at introduced species scurrying around hiding nuts away for the winter.  You can meander trails, walk the seawall, swim, feed ducks bread if you think that to be wise.  It’s the kind of place that enables coyotes to live amidst the huge cedar trees in the middle of downtown Vancouver.  What could be cooler than a coyote in a city..(a coyote in pristine wilderness I guess).  Regardless, it is a lucky night if you and all your tame should come across one and its wild.

My least favourite question media asks is: how does plastic get in the ocean?  I don’t like the question because I don’t have a great answer.  I want to say “It just does, so stop asking me that and quit trying to find excuses for not doing something about it.”  But, I bumble something like: I am told that 80% of the trash out there is land-based, getting into the ocean via water and wind.

Looking at the gutters in any city gives you a good idea.  And so does this photo from e.g. the LA river.

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But still you think, 5 gyres worth is an awful lot of trash…it couldn’t possibly be from our civilized folk here (or there where you are!).  And maybe you don’t live in LA.

Stanley Park provided one clue that would allow me to recount first hand how the stupid stuff gets in the Big Blue from our seemingly clean neck of the woods.

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When you concentrate all the surface matter of the park into one place, you realize how much plastic crap makes the cut.  Appalling!  The sea is right behind this image and these piles continued for about a city block.

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There I am!  Amdist the garbage and leaves.  Help me Beth Terry!  Yes, I did manage to climb out of the pile, but I googled, “Beth Terry how does plastic get in the ocean” to no avail.  What do you say when someone asks you the question?

…and now we wait to see if Beth reads my blog 😉

3 thoughts on “White leaves

  1. that plastic is appalling. I remember I was thinking that also – how does it all get there but then started noting that here in Ottawa they are changing from ground grates (on roads) which cyclists hate to side grate that are wide open on the curb – easy for cars, road sweepers, etc. to just push all the garbage on the street into the sewer – and then where does that go? into our rivers.

    Here’s a blog post on it:
    http://greeneststuff.blogspot.ca/2010/08/plastic-in-ottawa-rivers-part-two.html

    Always love reading your blog!

  2. Thanks for this post and the answer. I’m also bothered about how to answer that question. Especially as items like toothbrushes are too heavy to be blown by the wind.

  3. Ha ha! Of course I read your blog, silly goose.

    I tell them the majority comes from us on land. I say that pretty much everyone is upstream from the ocean. And that anything that gets littered eventually will make its way there. I ask if they know what really happens to the plastic they dutifully out in their recycle bins and trash cans because I’ve seen how plastic blows away from the collection trucks. I don’t worry about an exact statistic because I really don’t think that’s what’s important.

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