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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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View Andrew Rakestraw's blog posts
07 July 2011, 10:44 AM
Plastic in the Pacific Garbage Patch, toxic substances contaminate fish
Photo: Mario Aguilera / Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Ever wonder where that bottle cap or cheap dime store action figure went when you casually tossed it away years ago? Well, there’s a good chance it ended up somewhere in the Pacific Garbage Patch, a soupy mixture of plastic and other debris swirling in the north Pacific Ocean.

Trapped there, the plastic becomes food for fish, clams, krill and even some sharks. In the process, they absorb PCBs, flame retardants, detergents and pesticides contained within the plastic particles.

Nearly one in every 10 small fish contain plastic, according to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who released a report last week about the Garbage Patch. The authors estimate that small, inch-long fish in the intermediate ocean depths of the north Pacific are ingesting up to 24,000 tons of plastic per year.

The Patch, a vast expanse of plastics and other trash, is located in an area of ocean roughly twice the size of Texas, with slack winds and currents. Debris stagnates there for years before jettisoning off to one of the other four major oceanic gyres or washing up on our shores.