The ocean. We in the animal rights movement cannot for
an instant ignore what's happening on the land or in the sea.
Did you know that there are oceanographers who track sea
garbage by measuring ocean currents? These and other methods are now
used to pinpoint the container ship which may have dumped thousands of
items such as running shoes into our precious waters, disturbing the
ecosystem including poisoning fish and ocean animals.
Every year millions of items from gumball dispensers to
Beanie Babies sail the oceans of the world on container ships which each
carry an average of 4,500 containers. But storms and other mishaps cause
more than 10,000 containers to fall overboard and spill their cargo into
the ocean every year.
Fortunately, shipping companies must keep meticulous
records, and a ship's captain is required to state where a container
Oceanographers can easily check the serial number on the
insole of a Nike shoe for example, found washed up on a beach against a
ship captain's record to help trace its route from where it went
overboard. With knowledge of ocean currents, oceanographers can then
often predict where and when the goods will turn up.
Recently predicted was that Nike shoes which fell into
the Pacific in 1999 would turn up on a certain beach. But some items
won't wash ashore for 10 years.
The most bountiful and therefore unfortunate beaches are
in California, Oregon and Washington. In Puget Sound, oceanographers
claim the "1 percent rule" applies - about 1 percent of whatever is
spilled or floats into the Strait of Juan de Fuca will reach inland
"The oil companies don't like me saying this, but if a
million gallons of oil spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, 1 percent -
10,000 gallons - will show up in Everett and Puget Sound," said
oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer of a Seattle firm.
Perhaps someday we will have the technology and funds to
avert spills before they happen; and if they happen to be able to
accurately predict what will be needed at the site where they will come
ashore. Advance planning has the potential to save the lives of millions
of fish and mammals, and keep our seas' delicate balance in check for
generations to come.
Go on to Legislative
Update: Victory In Texas
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