The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a area of the ocean where garbage, mostly plastics, converges. Where is all this coming from? The answer may surprise you.

I’ve talked about, in the past, the problems that a hike in the minimum wage causes, but the Canadian province of Ontario has figured out a way to make it hurt the disabled even worse.

I’ve also talked about studies that show that those who think it is not the government’s job to take care of the poor are more often the same people who pitch in more of their own time and money to help. Now it turns out that this also holds true for environmentalism.

Mentioned links:

The Podcast Awards

Shocking study reveals 90% of global plastic waste comes from just TEN rivers in Asia and Africa

Great Pacific garbage patch [Wikipedia]

Ontario’s Minimum Wage Hike Has Been Disastrous, Especially for Disabled Workers


Instapundit  search results for “I’ll believe it’s a crisis”

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Show transcript

Researchers from Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research revealed that 90% of the world’s plastic waste comes from just 10 rivers. The study suggested that the most effective way of reducing the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is by addressing the sources of pollution along such waterways as these.

You may have heard of the Great Pacific garbage patch, or the Pacific trash vortex. It’s a collection of plastic, floating trash generally located halfway between Hawaii and California. Now contrary to depictions on TV, it is not some island of plastic floating around, that you could walk on. (I’m looking at you, CBS, and that episode of “Scorpion”.) It has only 4 particles per cubic meter, so you could be in a boat in the middle of it and not realize it. It doesn’t even show up on satellite pictures. Still, it’s not an accomplishment we humans should be proud of. So much trash floating around is clearly not good for the marine environment. And since most of it is plastic that doesn’t degrade well, or at all, things can only get worse.

One way to combat this is to look at those 10 rivers that dump, as I said, 90% of the plastic garbage. We could start by looking at our own Mississippi River or St. Lawrence Seaway. Well, we could look there, but we wouldn’t find much. That’s because neither of those rivers are in the top 10. In fact, none of those rivers are even in the Western hemisphere. Additionally, none of them are in Europe.

Instead, 2 of these rivers – the Nile and the Niger – are in Africa, and the rest in are in Southeast Asia, with China’s Yangtze River clocking in at #1 on the hit parade. There’s a link in the show notes with a map, and more details.

I am not saying that the United States should sit back and wait for the rest of the world to get its act together. What we can do to make things a little better will certainly be helpful, but I keep hearing about how capitalism is destroying the planet, or how the US is the world’s worst polluter. These generalizations are just catch-phrases. In some areas we might be, but in other areas we, like the Great Pacific garbage patch, don’t even show up on the radar.

I’ve talked before about the problems with increasing the minimum wage – inflation, job losses, small business closures, etc. – so I’m not going to rehash that. But a new problem with it has been noticed by the Canadian province of Ontario.

They began the year by increasing their minimum wage from $11.60 to $14. Sounds like a lot, but as of the time I wrote this script it was $10.65 US, so don’t get your hopes up about running to the great, white north for a great big wage. Still, that’s almost a 21% increase. In addition to all the usual problems it caused, the Foundation for Economic Education notes that certain class of worker got shafted even worse.

When the Ontario government raised the minimum wage, it also terminated an exemption for organizations providing jobs to the intellectually or physically disabled. As a result, The Globe and Mail reports, most of these organizations “have opted to stop hiring people with cognitive disabilities.” Not only was hiring stopped, community centers and non-profits were also forced to let go of their existing disabled workers.

So it used to be that businesses could pay intellectually disabled workers less than the minimum, but now they must bring them in line with the minimum. Some businesses could afford this, but those that can’t, especially charities working on a very limited budget, couldn’t. And yet these non-profits are often the places that these people could be given self-esteem-boosting and paying jobs.

Remember, these liberal policies are created by people who say that they are the ones who care about the poor and disabled. To them, intentions matter more than results.

I’ve talked a few times in the past about how those people who think the government should provide assistance to the poor do not themselves give as much of their own money to charity as those who think government should not be their brother’s keeper. If you think it’s the government’s job, you’re less likely to take personal responsibility for it.

Well now this concept appears to work in another area; environmentalism. A study released back in April shows a similar disconnect between what people think the government should do (and of course, what the government should force others to do) and what they should do personally.

Kevin Artz, writing for The Heartland Institute, summarized the findings this way, “Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Michigan found those “highly concerned” about climate change were less likely to recycle, take mass transit, buy green products, and engage in other behaviors commonly considered eco-friendly, than persons who identified themselves as skeptical of global warming.”

What comes to mind immediately are things like people taking private jets to a global warming conference, or living in massive mansions with a huge carbon footprint. Once again, people who believe it’s their job act like it’s their job. People who don’t, don’t. As Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, has been saying about global warming for over a decade, “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who say it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.”

Filed under: CanadaEconomics & TaxesEnvironmentMinimum Wage