July 25, 2008
During the cruise I thought to myself," where does all our garbage go?" Pat answered my question. He grabbed and told me it was time to go to the incinerator. We picked up about 10 paper bags and made our way down to the incinerator. On the way down, Pat asked me if I had me lighter. I said yes but I thought that was odd. I thought the incinerator would light the garbage.
Because of the safety features, we had to light the bags first, and then drop them into a compartment and then it will burn. While we were burning the garbage, the phone kept ringing. It turned out one of the 'Coasties" was "playing" with us.
Later on during the day, I heard a pipe to secure the incinerator. I thought nothing of it but it turned out that there was a malfunction and the door blew open and the pipe I heard was actually for real and not a drill. As a result, we can no longer burn our garbage.
I also learned today, how vessels on the high seas get rid of their paper garbage and food wastes. They throw it over board! I could not believe my ears when I heard the pipe, "All hands report for trash removal." I had a blast throwing the cardboard overboard. Then I got a rude awakening. The wet trash was next. I helped open garbage bags of disposed food for the last two weeks and threw them overboard. It took everything I had not to add to the mess personally. Know what I mean....
I did not have any problems with throwing our food wastes into the water but I felt like I was polluting we threw over the paper products. I told Tom Weingartner my feelings and he smiled at me and said something cool. He told me to envision what seawater would do to a nail in a year. I said probably corrode/oxidize it quite a bit. He said "exactly" and walked away. I ran back to him and asked him how long the paper would last. He said a few weeks a most. I should have realized a research vessel would not blatantly pollute like that.