There are two versions of each lab, one with a ten-question conclusion and one with directions for a full lab report. This way the teacher has the option! Each lab is two pages to allow for one two-sided handout.
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*Some of you have already purchased my lab book – be sure to check out Page 141 !
There have been several posts about Garbage in the Ocean, but they have been separate over the years. I would like to consolidate this issue as well as provide a list of past blog posts.
“The name ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’ has led many to believe that this area is a large and continuous patch of easily visible marine debris items such as bottles and other litter—akin to a literal island of trash that should be visible with satellite or aerial photographs. This is not the case. While higher concentrations of litter items can be found in this area, much of the debris is actually small pieces of floating plastic that are not immediately evident to the naked eye.
Ocean debris is continuously mixed by wind and wave action and widely dispersed both over huge surface areas and throughout the top portion of the water column. It is possible to sail through ‘garbage patch’ areas in the Pacific and see very little or no debris on the water's surface. It is also difficult to estimate the size of these ‘patches,’ because the borders and content constantly change with ocean currents and winds. Regardless of the exact size, mass, and location of the ‘garbage patch,’ manmade debris does not belong in our oceans and waterways and must be addressed.”
“The name ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’ has led many to believe that this area is a large and continuous patch of easily visible marine debris items such as bottles and other litter —akin to a literal island of trash that should be visible with satellite or aerial photographs. While higher concentrations of litter items can be found in this area, along with other debris such as derelict fishing nets, much of the debris is actually small pieces of floating plastic that are not immediately evident to the naked eye.
The debris is continuously mixed by wind and wave action and widely dispersed both over huge surface areas and throughout the top portion of the water column. It is possible to sail through the ‘garbage patch’ area and see very little or no debris on the water’s surface. It is also difficult to estimate the size of these “patches,” because the borders and content constantly change with ocean currents and winds. Regardless of the exact size, mass, and location of the ‘garbage patch,’ manmade debris does not belong in our oceans and waterways and must be addressed. “
“The world produces enough plastic each year to build 50 Pyramids of Giza. That's over 350 million tons of candy wrappers, PVC pipes, and synthetic t-shirts. While most of it ends up in landfills, 8 million tons wind up in our oceans each year — where most finds its way into massive garbage patches around the world.
And the biggest of them all is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you picked up each piece of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch you'd carry away about 1.8 trillion individual pieces. That's ten times more than there are stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. And it would weigh a whopping 80,000 tons. Equivalent to the weight of three Statues of Liberty.
Half of the entire patch is made of plastic fishing nets, lines, and ropes, which come from intense fishing activity near the area. The other half is mostly hard plastics and films, like water bottles and plastic wrap. But don't let the name ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ fool you. It doesn't look like a giant mountain of trash at all. It's actually scattered over a region of ocean that's twice the size of Texas, according to some estimates.
So if you wanted to pick up every piece of plastic, it would take you 121 days at a walking pace of 5 km/hr to cover the entire area. Though in reality, there's no true end since the garbage patch is constantly ebbing and flowing with the ocean currents. But let's pretend you could scoop it all up into one place. There'd be enough plastic to fill 100 Boeing 747 planes!
And the patch is only getting bigger. It's been growing exponentially larger for nearly 70 years. Partly because once the plastic is there it'll stick around for centuries. Those plastic fishing lines, for example, will take 600 years to break down.
And even after they break down, the damage doesn't stop there. Most end up as microplastics that are too small to see with the naked eye. But can make it into the bellies of sea animals and ultimately the humans that eat those animals. Worldwide, researchers have found ingested microplastics in, every species of sea turtle. Nearly 60% of whale species. And almost 60% of seabirds.
Plus, more plastic is pouring into the world's oceans each day. In fact, experts estimate that by the year 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the world's fish. “
“Plastic has increasingly become a ubiquitous substance in the ocean. Due to its size and color, animals confuse the plastic for food, causing malnutrition; it poses entanglement risks and threatens their overall behavior, health and existence.
Studies have shown that about 700 species have encountered marine debris, and 92% of these interactions are with plastic. 17% of the species affected by plastic are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
Floating at the surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is 180x more plastic than marine life. Animals migrating through or inhabiting this area are then likely consuming plastic in the patch. For example, sea turtles by-caught in fisheries operating within and around the patch can have up to 74% (by dry weight) of their diets composed of ocean plastics. Laysan albatross chicks from Kure Atoll and Oahu Island have around 45% of their wet mass composed of plastics from surface waters of the GPGP.
Since 84% of this plastic was found to have at least one Persistent Bio-accumulative Toxic Persistent Bio-accumulative Toxic (PBT) chemical, animals consuming this debris are therefore ingesting the chemicals attached to the plastic.
Fishing nets account for 46% of the mass in the GPGP and they can be dangerous for animals who swim or collide into them and cannot extract themselves from the net. Interaction with these discarded nets, also known as ghost nets, often results in the death of the marine life involved.”
“First discovered in the early 1990s, the garbage patch's trash comes from countries around the Pacific Rim, including nations in Asia and North and South America, said Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation.
But specifically, scientists say, the bulk of the garbage patch trash comes from China and other Asian countries.
This shouldn't be a surprise: Overall, worldwide, most of the plastic trash in the ocean comes from Asia. In fact, the top six countries for ocean garbage are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand, according to a 2015 study in the journal Science.
The United States contributes as much as 242 million pounds of plastic trash to the ocean every year, according to that study.
China has begun to take steps to stem the tide of trash floating from its shores. The country recently banned the import of most plastic waste, according to a study published in June in Science Advances.
China has imported about 45 percent of the world’s plastic waste since 1992 for recycling, the study found. In the U.S. alone, nearly 4,000 shipping containers full of plastic recyclables a day had been shipped to Chinese recycling plants. “
“The patch was discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, a yachtsman who had sailed through a mishmash of floating plastic bottles and other debris on his way home to Los Angeles. It was named by Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer known for his expertise in tracking ocean currents and the movement of cargo lost overboard, including rubber duck bath toys and Nike tennis shoes. The patch is now the target of a $32 million cleanup campaign launched by a Dutch teenager, Boyan Slat, now 23, and head of the Ocean Cleanup, the organization he founded to do the job.”
“While ‘garbage patch’ might make you think of something you pass by on the side of the road, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean is less like a patch and more like a massive swirling vortex more than three times the size of Spain and more than twice the size of Turkey or Texas.
And it's growing and collecting more plastic rapidly, according to a study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports by researchers associated with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation.
There may be more than 16 times as much plastic in the vortex than previous studies have estimated, according to the researchers behind the study.
An aerial view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch might at first appear to be open water. But inside there's debris from all over the world — debris that traps or is eaten by marine animals, filling up their bodies to the point of being fatal and tainting our food supply.
More than 320 million metric tons of plastic are produced every year — and a disturbing amount ends up in the ocean, with much of it accumulating in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “
“On Sept. 8, , an ungainly, 2,000-foot-long contraption will steam under the Golden Gate Bridge in what’s either a brilliant quest or a fool's errand.
Dubbed the Ocean Cleanup Project, this giant sea sieve consists of pipes that float at the surface of the water with netting below, corralling trash in the center of a U-shaped design.
The purpose of this bizarre gizmo is as laudable as it is head-scratching: to collect millions of tons of garbage from what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which can harm and even kill whales, dolphins, seals, fish and turtles that consume it or become entangled in it, according to researchers at Britain's University of Plymouth.
The project is the expensive, untried brainchild of a 23-year-old Dutch college dropout named Boyan Slat, who was so disgusted by the plastic waste he encountered diving off Greece as a teen that he has devoted his life to cleaning up the mess.
Along with detractors who want to prioritize halting the flow of plastics into the ocean, the Dutch nonprofit gathered support from several foundations and philanthropists, including billionaire Salesforce founder Marc Benioff. In 2017, the Ocean Cleanup Project received $5.9 million in donations and reported reserves from donations in previous years of $17 million. “
Check these past blog posts about this Ocean Cleanup issue:
06/25/2015 Ocean Clean-Up
03/19/2016 Microplastic Polluting Our Oceans
02/17/2017 The Ocean Clean-up Project Revisited
12/08/2017 Video: Oceans -- The Mystery of
the Missing Plastic
10/19/2018 The Ocean Cleanup Launch
11/09/2018 Plastic Pollution Coalition
*This Blog contains several entries that would be helpful to your chemistry classroom. Check out the Topic List to help you to find past Blog entries.
Also, Write To Me about your successes, challenges, or questions in the Chemistry Classroom.
Remember, buying a copy of the lab book Chemistry on a Budget can be very useful to your Chemistry classroom with labs and class article ideas.
Have a great weekend!