Last week, millions of people around the world celebrated Earth Day. Of course, Oprah — the queen of talk shows — had a special show for Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. Even though I’m at work when Oprah’s show is on television, the wonders of technology allow me to record it and watch later when I have time.
On Thursday’s show, Oprah interviewed David de Rothschild, one of the heirs to the Rothschild fortune. This guy could, of course, have any kind of custom-built yacht or luxury boat he wants — even a whole fleet of them. However, Mr. de Rothschild built a floating vessel out of 12,500 plastic bottles. It is actually seaworthy. He is currently traveling the Pacific Ocean to bring awareness to the devastating problems that litter, which eventually ends up in our waterways, is creating in our oceans.
His vessel, named “Plastika,” is now thousands of miles out in the Pacific. It is nearing the enormous Pacific “garbage patch,” which contains plastics and other debris that have merged together deep in the heart of the Pacific. Litter can really travel. Unfortunately, this mound of trash is only one of the five “garbage patches” that have been discovered in the world’s oceans and seas.
Oprah aired video taken of this patch from under the surface. It was incredible — and quite frightening — to me. Can you imagine the kind of impact all that plastic has on our waters and aquatic life forms that depend on the ocean as their home? The patches definitely are thick enough to disturb the oxygen levels in water, which impact growth of algae and other sea life that are part of the ocean’s natural food chain.
Fish, turtles, birds and other sea animals often mistake plastic and other litter as food. Ingesting it makes them sick or kills them. The animals also can get tangled or trapped in trash, such as fishing line and six-pack beverage rings.
Following these tips will ensure you don’t contribute to these “garbage patches.”
• Set an example by not littering. Carry a litter bag in your car and hang onto litter until you find a garbage receptacle.
• Pick up at least one piece of litter every day when you can.
• Speak up when those around you litter.
• Make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids so litter cannot fall or blow out.
• Ask your neighbors to join you in cleaning up one area in your community where litter accumulates.
• Encourage groups, such as civic clubs, youth groups, sports teams and churches, to become involved in clean-up and recycling projects.
• In your workplace, make sure there are enough containers for recycling and garbage disposal.
• If you own or work with a construction or hauling business, make sure trucks are covered when transporting materials from one site to another.
I would love to think anyone who carelessly litters will stop cold-turkey after seeing or hearing about these growing “garbage patches.” So, let’s hope “the power of Oprah” will make a difference in this serious problem.
Upcoming KLCB events:
• May 1 and 15, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: More clean-up events are being scheduled. Call 880-4888 to set up yours.
• May 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Recycle it! Fair for electronics and HHW items.
For more information, call 880-4888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.