Think About It: A Fine Mess - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

February 9, 2012

Think About It: A Fine Mess

Remember that ominous music from the movie "Jaws", that duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh sound that let you know the shark was about to make his presence felt… literally. Well, there's no music to warn you about what's going on in the Pacific Ocean right now, but there is a bunch of stuff heading our way that requires more than just a simple "heads up".

I'm talking about the 50-million pounds of junk that is heading just north of us, slowly, since the March, 2011, Japan tsunami. It is now projected that the floating mass will pass well north of us as it continues its cruise toward the U.S. west coast, but then will circle back in our direction in early 2015. This latest prediction comes after an October report suggested we could get hit by this stuff by 2014, before the West Coast gets trashed by the massive mess. The best news is that the debris, which is spread over 2-million square miles, appears to not be radioactive and is staying north of the Papahanaumokuakea protected zone, thus not affecting wildlife there. However, the normal North Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge swatch of flotsam and jetsam, still poses a problem as humans continue to be careless with their sludge, plastics, waste, and fishing nets throughout the Pacific Rim region.

If it makes it here, a 50-million ton flotilla would be devastating to our pristine beaches, coral reefs, and native aquatic creatures, so now would be the time to start analyzing what can be done, both here and on the west coast, before this grim tsunami reminder creeps closer. Unlike a fast-moving tsunami, we have plenty of time to prepare for and perhaps act on this unwanted residue before it gets too close for comfort. Think about it…

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