When we typically think of islands we thinks of exotic vacations, beautiful benches and relaxing under the shade of a palm tree in a hammock.
What if you came across an island made completely of floating garbage? That is exactly what happened to Captain Charles Moore while he was returning from the Transpacific Yacht Race in 1997. While heading back to Los Angeles from Honolulu, Captain Moore began to notice a tremendous amount of floating plastic debris surrounding his boat. There were plastic bottles and caps, nets, bags, fishing traps and a never ending variety of garbage stew as far as his eye could see.
Because this was the most remote part of the world, the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Captain Moore found it very strange there was such a large collection of trash, so he returned two years later with several scientists to further research the garbage dump in the sea. 15 years later it is now known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it is not just a patch, it actually is double the size of the state of Texas, swirling in the gyre, the place where multiple currents meet. These currents are bringing all the trash with them from beaches and boats. Moore has now dedicated his life to this issue, opening the Algalita Marine Research Institute, a nonprofit focused on reducing marine plastic pollution. This issue is not easily fixed. In fact, it is getting worse.
During their exploration, Moore’s team discovered it is becoming even more of an island than when they first discovered it. This “trash island” is more than 50 feet (15 meters) long, with “beaches,” a “rocky coastline,” and “underwater mountains” and reefs made up of ropes, buoys and other plastic debris, Moore said. “It’s showing signs of permanence,” Moore said. “There will be a new floating world in our oceans if we don’t stop polluting with plastics.” If we dot take serious measures to reduce the amount of plastics, disposable, one time use items that are thrown away to “never be seen from again” we can guarantee we will see them again! They are forming their own land masses and we are running out of space to put it all. Think twice before going with plastics. We are all in this together.