It is about that time of year when we all wish we could quit school and go on a cruise without a care in the world. Am I right or am I right?
Now pretend you are sitting on this cruise ship working on your tan, hanging out with your friends and having a drink in your hand. Sounds pretty amazing and a lot more entertaining than the research paper you’ve been holding off on.
Now imagine the cruise ship comes to a slow stop. The sun is shining without a cloud in the sky and you are miles away from any college dilemmas or drama. But suddenly everyone seems to be in a panic and you can’t figure out why.
You look at the horizon and realize there is part of a house floating in the water. Then you see refrigerators, piles of furniture, busted fishing boats, debris and piles among piles of trash slowly surrounding the ship you wish you were no longer on.
Five to 20 million pounds of trash is estimated to be floating toward the Pacific coastline nearly 2,000 miles away from where the Japan tsunami, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, took place March 11 of this year. The long trail of debris is moving at 20 miles a day and some debris is expected to find its way back to Japan over the next six years. Going on a cruise does not seem as much fun as it once did.
I can barely stand to have a few bags of garbage in my apartment before taking out the trash. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to see belongings someone once treasured now turned to trash and arriving on United States soil. The aftermath of the natural disaster which affected people around the world is heading toward our country piece by piece. According to the Herald-Review, heavy pieces from the tsunami wreckage have already sunk to the ocean floor. Paper products and biodegradable materials have also disappeared, but millions of pounds of debris are still floating in the middle of the ocean.
This massive amount of trash will be finding its way to our beaches along the west coast and Hawaii by 2013. The beaches will not suddenly be covered with millions of pounds of trash all at once, but there will be an increase of debris appearing on the coastline for the next couple years.
Thinking about going on a cruise to get away from all of my college problems will not be a cure by any means. It may just be an eye-opener to the problems the world around us may be encountering. I can’t picture five million or more pounds of trash floating in the ocean right now. It is devastating to me how many lives were taken in March and how the aftermath of such an event will continue for years to come, when all I am trying to do is survive college like you.
So I am encouraging you all to remember those whose lives and belongings were taken in this horrific disaster. Some of us may not have been directly affected, while others have not gone a single day without remembering the tsunami on March 11. We are very fortunate to live the life we have at Ferris. Do your part to keep the world clean and possibly help restore the coastline by simply picking up trash or donating money to a foundation that will.
This debris could be the largest amount of marine trash to ever reach North American shores. We will be able to say we were alive during this disaster, as this tsunami will go down in history. But will you be able to say what difference you made in the aftermath or will you be one to just walk on by?
Update November 10, 2011: Author’s name corrected after being misattributed to a past writer for the Torch.