The Great Pacific Garbage is located within the North Pacific Gyre. This gyre is formed by differential currents in the ocean, causing a whirlpool like system. It is within this gyre that plastic pollution (specifically microplastic pieces) collect. There is a common misconception about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, many believe that it is an actual island of floating trash. Captain Charles Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation have spent time studying this area (pictured above) and have revealed that this area is actually made up of a soupy consistency of small plastic pieces. In order to study this area, Capt. Moore uses a device called a manta trawl. This trawl skims the surface of the water as his boat travels through, collecting any organisms or plastic materials that float along the surface. Within this area, they determined that there is six times more plastic pieces than plankton. With this fact comes an alarming truth, in order to remove these pieces you would have to remove the plankton dispersed amongst them, which could be extremely damaging to the surrounding ecosystem. This is one of the main reasons why an effective cleanup method has yet to be determined.
This information is another great reminder why it is important to address the issue of marine plastic pollution at the source by reducing our plastic use on land. If we reduce our plastic consumption we can prevent an increase in plastic pollution within the North Pacific Gyre.
Since founding the Algalita Marine Research Institute, Captain Charles Moore has made it is life goal to spread awareness about plastic debris and pollution in our ocean. I am ready to make a difference as well, are you?
For more information about Captain Moore’s studies visit: http://www.algalita.org/index.php