Plastic> Bottles> Trash= BAD

Plastic in Ocean

On this expedition, I met Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of 5 Gyres. I enjoyed helping him as we sieved the sea surface searching for synthetic materials.

Marcus and his wife, Anna Cummins, have sailed through the 5 subtropical gyres doing research and reporting on plastic pollution. Their mission is to engage people in design and policy solutions to end the global health crisis of plastic pollution.

Through their research they estimate there is 5 trillion pieces (yes, with a t) of plastic in the earth’s oceans!

Why is this relevant? Think about this quote from the Plastic Soup Foundation and then think about eating a piece of plastic-flavored sushi:

As a result of the breakdown and fragmentation of plastic into smaller particles, ocean water has been transformed into a sort of global microplastic soup or Plastic Soup. In addition, toxins are released from the plastic. All sorts of organisms living in or off the sea – even the smallest of zooplankton – mistakenly take in plastic debris and microplastic for food.

This results in the often toxic waste to enter our food chain.

Additionally, I learned a great deal about microplastics from Marcus and their harmful affects. 5 Gyres and other leading environmental groups are leading an effort to ban microbeads from consumer products in California. Learn more about this problem at Beat the Microbead and then sign the petition.

Marcus is featured in this documentary Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Check out the trailer and be prepared to be disgusted.

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