This looks too familiar…
While I was at the Pacific Garbage Patch this summer, the crew found a plastic umbrella handle in one of the nets they were dragging behind the ship. Apparently, umbrella handles are a common type of plastic pollution in the ocean. Captain Moore has a whole collection of umbrella handles he’d collected from various beaches over the years. He said you find so many types of plastic trash on beaches that you have to decide what you’re going to collect. He chose umbrella handles. Still, it baffled me. How did umbrella handles appear out here? Water bottles I understood, but umbrella handles?
Today I got my answer. While on a jog through Brooklyn I saw umbrellas strewn across the wet pavement now that the rain had passed. I saw at least ten broken umbrellas lying on the sidewalks and in the streets. And then I saw a lone umbrella handle less than a foot from a garbage can. The photos above are the two umbrellas. I realize that the wooden handle probably won’t end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch, thus the arrow isn’t intended to be misleading but rather to show a general trend, trash on land = trash in the ocean. The handle may end up in the mass of trash forming in the Sargasso Sea.
Making these connections, now that I’m back on land, is really quite unsettling.