Beauty Store Business

AUG 2016

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18 August 2016 | also handed out 100 surface samples from the gyre to show people what is happening in our oceans. Along the way, we got married in Big Sur. We kept hearing the same questions along the journey, ÒWhat about the other oceans?Ó We realized there was no data on plastic in the southern hemisphere gyres. This sparked our desire to do something on a global level about this issue. So, we used wedding money to incorporate 5 Gyres with the goal of gathering scientific evidence from all five subtropical gyres and leveraging that science to [address] pollution. Please explain what a gyre is? If you break down the word, the word ÒgyreÓ means spinning. Every ocean is spinning in a huge vortex; kind of like a huge whirlpool. ItÕs a factor of the earthÕs rotation, with prevailing winds and ocean currents. These systems work together to create these massive whirlpools in the oceanÑweÕre talking thousands of miles wide. And to give an idea of scopeÑif you were to put a plastic lighter in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre, in six to 10 years, that lighter would travel from California to Japan and back. THE PLASTIC IMPACT Plastics are made from fossil fuels. They are not biodegradable. Plastic pollution flows into our oceans from every con- tinent in the world. Everyone can attest to the fact that theyÕve seen plastic bags, forks, packaging and Styrofoam littering our streetsÑtons of single-use, disposable trash. This stuff will eventu- ally march its way to the oceans, carried by rain through storm drains, rivers and streams. Once it gets to the oceans, for most people, itÕs out of sight, out of mind. You donÕt see it again. But what we see is that the currents sweep up these floating plastic products. They spin them around the gyres for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years. TheyÕre not biodegrad- able, but they are photodegradable, so UV light will make them brittle, and waves will turn them up into smaller and smaller pieces that increasingly look like food for many different foraging animals. If you imagine a little piece of plastic the size of a grain of riceÑthat can look very much like fish food. Our oceans are full of these microplasticsÑparticles that are five millimeters or less. And the kinds of animals that might eat micro- plastics range in size from plankton to whales. Really, itÕs up and down the food chain in the ocean. How long has research been taking place concerning microbeads? Let me clarify. Microbeads are a very specific kind of microplastic that we find in personal-care products, like exfoliants. So all of that stuff I men- tionedÑthe bottles, the packaging, toothbrushes, you name itÑthat get into our oceans will eventually fragment into microplastics; but they arenÕt neces- sarily microbeads. The microbeads issue really only came to public attention in the United States in 2013 after we published our findings in the Great Lakes. With regards to the general issue of plastics in the gyres and how long that research has been around, whatÕs interesting is that the research has been around since the Õ70s. Some of the first published scientific papers on plastics in the gyres warning the world that this is a problem and that the problem is going to get much worse go back to 1972 and 1973. But it really wasnÕt until, IÕd say, the late Õ90s, early 2000s that another organiza- tion called Algalita started picking up on Infographic and image courtesy of The 5 Gyres Institute

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