Deep Sea Trash

Now how’d that get down there? Any thoughts on the ocean cleanup trend that seems to be the hot thing right now? I know that Maersk OSV is in the Pacific doing a cleanup, and recently heard of 4Ocean, a nonprofit out of Florida. But is this really a sustainable business? Possible work for all the laid up OSV’s?

I saw those Maersk OSVs in San Diego with the Ocean Cleanup logo on them couple months ago. Have a photo somewhere that I took when we were pulling into port.

Anyway…is it sustainable? Surely they can’t be doing all this work from money derived from the sale of (plastic) bracelets or tshirts. I would love to see a greater investment and effort from industry around the world, especially those that produce or use plastics. And that’s most of them.

That said, the real problem is origin. We just buy and use too much individually packaged stuff. I get it for some foodstuffs and medical supplies, but I think a lot of things are just too overpackaged with plastic. And we use way too many water bottles and plastic shopping bags.

People cringe when an area bans plastic shopping bags, but I’m old enough to remember when my mom and grandma made do just fine with paper bags and reusable bags. Those are not new things. The hipsters may have made them trendy, but people have been shopping with cloth bags and baskets for centuries. I carry a Nalgene bottle to the ship with me. Most of our vessels are getting the filtered water dispensers and you can refill your own bottle.

We are really trashing this planet big time. We’re finding mammals, fish and birds loaded with plastic junk. We don’t act on it now then our grandkids will be paying the price.


I absolutely agree that we use plastic in excess. But I dont believe just banning all forms of it is useful either. The development of plastic, a cheap, infinitely shapable product has no doubt revolutionized our world. I think what we need is another advancement in technology to replace it. I’m no chemical engineer, but why can’t we just make it more degradable? Like a 1 year breakdown period instead of hundreds?

But again how can we turn the plastic already in the world’s oceans into more jobs?

Africa truly is the land of the windblown plastic bag. It’s… strikingly sad, for want of a better term. Certain things just aren’t conveyed by pictures. Sure, you can see an image of a cactus draped in plastic, and someone tells you that it applies to all of them. Then you see it with your own yes, and you’re like “Holy shit, all the cacti are covered in plastic bags!”

Africa is also the place where properly disposing of garbage is not socially acceptable. There I am, carrying my stupid little plastic bottle, and the guy goes “What are you doing with that? Drop it!” I try to explain, and he’s like “What do you mean, nature? This is all covered in shit anyway. Just drop it!” Then shit gets all weird when I insist, and we finish our journey in an uncomfortable silence. Later, I drop it on the dock with the rest of the ship’s garbage in a sturdy LDPE bag for pickup next morning. During the night, some asshole steals the bag and leaves our garbage to be spread across the land by the sea breeze at sunrise.

We are so fucked…


Interesting observation about nature, culture, and trash. In Alaska and northern BC where the vistas are mind numbingly spectacular, there is plenty of space to dig deep pits for trash and cover them up but in many places, the sides of the roads are littered with everything from abandoned couches and TV sets to rusting refrigerators and abandoned cars.

Wow hate plastic much? Look, jump to conclusions about my political views if you want, I could care less. You can’t argue that plastic hasn’t changed our world greatly and allowed us to generally improve our lives through its many uses. Rather than just abruptly halt our progress, we need to find a remedy to this pollution problem. Something biodegradable and cheap to replace plastic.

Also this forum is filled with professional mariners that would love to see more US manned vessels go to work. So let’s brainstorm ways to help that happen and cleanup our oceans.

I was speaking in general, none of what I wrote was aimed at you or anyone in particular

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Nice essay, jackass. Cactuses in Africa, lovely. Have you seen their river deltas, however?

Plant based biodegradable plastics are already out there in the form of cups, straws, and other consumables. Problem is, they cost more and aren’t available everywhere.

I’d love to see the cleanup effort take off. I just don’t know how financially viable it is. And if the price of oil takes off, where do you think the money’s going to go?


Starch-based packing peanuts are a good thing. Other than being hateful like all packing peanuts, of course.


The very first step in less waste and better recycling should be to start holding companies accountable for how something is packaged.

Here is an Interesting process.

Click on the above link to see the process. Not the start arrow that is only a screenshot.


Yeah, suppose it might be a niche thing for a couple boats to handle. I’m hopeful we as a planet can conquer this problem though.

Essay? You confuse me.

I was talking about how plastic ends up in the river, echoing your line about “laziness and stupidity” or whatever. I do know what a dirty delta looks like.

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Read it the wrong way then, apologies.

Oh please show me your dirty delta. Hahaha

Isn’t that how you talk down in the gulf

Oh you bet cap’n! See yah on de one!

I saw the title of this thread and I thought it was about me. . .


One of the problems is that there are many different plastics out there. This makes sorting and recycling very difficult.
A solution would be to ban certain plastics.

A complete ban on exporting plastic waste could force countries and industry to find a solution for the recycling problem instead of exporting it to poor countries that cannot process it.

Too bad the USA did not sign on.