If you have visited the beach recently, you, too, know that ocean trash is a problem. You've likely seen cigarette butts littering the sand and grocery bags floating in the surf like plastic jellyfish. Unfortunately, the trash we see from shore is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
With each potential discovery our hopes were raised only for the authorities and the media to casually inform us the debris or oil slicks were not from a plane but sea trash and oil slicks. The media's nonchalance and our societal indifference is hardly surprising but astoundingly scary.
As more than a million tons of trash and debris from last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan float toward the West Coast, everyone's worried about what it will mean for the region's beaches and public health.