In our corner of Brooklyn, we’ve been waiting for our local whale sighting. But it looks like it just might be a matter of time. According to a NY Daily News article, local boat owners are already making money off a revenue stream that seemed confined to calmer waters: whale watching tours.
Once the weather gets warmer, I’ll try to time my harbor walks for whale sightings and bring along my binoculars. But I hope we and the whales can adapt to each other. I’d like to keep cetaceans in my neighborhood.
On a spring afternoon walk earlier this year, I obsessively took pictures of New York harbor garbage. A buildup of plastic bottles, crates, driftwood and furniture fragments littered the rocks along our coastal walkway– a strange jumble of junk.
“It’s pretty shocking — it’s unusual to find exactly what you’re looking for,” said Miriam Goldstein, who led fellow researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego on the three-week voyage.
Plastics in the ocean are (at least) a three-pronged problem from what I can tell:
Wildlife get tangled in the junk or choke on it.
The plastics break down into smaller pieces that interfere with the life cycles of smaller organisms.
Then there’s the unknown of how much these plastics break down into their essential chemicals. As organisms are living in this water, how much do these chemicals build up?
I’m haunted by that floating Texas in the Pacific, the largest “landfill” in the world. Want to be even more depressed? There might be another one at least as large and just as nasty in the Southern Hemisphere.