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An island of plastic trash

Have you seen the islands of plastic trash floating in the middle of the Pacific ocean? One of them is apparently the size of Texas – nearly three times the size of the UK. Various sailors, like Captain Charles Moore, over the last few decades have been noticing an increasing amount of plastic debris converging in the Pacific and keeping records about what they find and where and when. This sounds pretty bad, and of course it’s much better for the waste not to be in the ocean at all but some researchers have found marine life, on, in and around these trash islands too!

Although the amounts of plastic in our seas doesn’t seem to have reached the quantities we were expecting. That could possibly be due to greater efforts to recycle so it doesn’t even get anywhere near the sea in the first place, but also perhaps, the amount of plastic we can count in the sea is really hard to calculate because a lot of it is incredibly small and very hard to spot and some of the heavier pieces sink down to the lower depths so can’t even be seen to be counted! Researchers have also identified some microbial organisms that appear to be living off of the plastic in some way i.e. breaking it down although it certainly isn’t clear that this is good for them or the ocean!

Credit: Algalita