5 Gyres works to help stop plastic pollution of microbeads

plastic microbeads

The issue of plastic in our oceans is huge – and growing! Even with encouraging news regarding Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat’s plan to clean up half the Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, the issue of microbeads remains.

Plastic microbeads are in beauty products like toothpaste and facial scrubs in humongous amounts. One tube of exfoliating scrub can contain over 350,000 plastic microbeads! It’s estimated that 471 million microbeads are released into the San Francisco Bay every day.

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A view of the North Pacific Garbage Patch

Plastic ocean trash

I came across a video about the North Pacific Garbage Patch (vs. the newly discovered gyre in the South Pacific Ocean). I’ve written a number of times about this whirling maelstrom but have rarely seen footage that displayed it like this.

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New “garbage patch” discovered in South Pacific ocean

South Pacific Garbage Patch 1

Many are getting familiar with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the term “gyre”, referring to areas of our oceans where large amounts of plastic debris lay swirling in ever-growing dimensions. Now a study published in he journal Marine Pollution Bulletin marks the first documentation of a defined ocean garbage patch in the Southern Hemisphere, where little research on marine plastic pollution exists.

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Tsumani debris may strike the West Coast for years

This massive dock that landed in Oregon is the likely the tip of the debris maelstrom to hit the West Coast for years to come

Seven feet tall, nineteen feet wide and 66 feet long, the concrete and metal dock that washed ashore in Newport, Oregon is a stunning residual remnant of last year’s Fukushima disaster. An awesome sight, the derelict dock that made the more than 6,500 mile trek from Minamisoma, Japan is a harbinger of serious debris yet to come.

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Devastating effects of ocean plastic debris seen up close

As someone once said, when you throw something away, “away” doesn’t mean it’s gone.

Like the plastic that so many toss without thinking. about it. The consequence of this produces a devastating effect to marine and wildlife that we simply don’t see. And what we don’t see is hard to imagine.

Photographer Chris Jordan has chronicled the impact of plastic in the Pacific Garbage Patch on marine birds on Midway Island, out in the Pacific where no humans are. Check out the video to see the reality of what we are doing and perhaps the next time you think (or don’t really think) about tossing something, stop and consider where it will end up.  Next time, perhaps you’ll make a different choice.