Are you aware of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? This collection of mostly plastic garbage is circulating in the North Pacific roughly 1,000 miles off the west coast of the United States. There’s a pattern of ocean currents that traps and collects the detritus, and this garbage patch covers approximately ten million square miles and it’s growing.
Much of the waste is collected from our cities by storm water and washed to sea. While cities are now installing catch basins to corral this material (the image is of Los Angeles), the problem still continues.
Learning about this phenomenon really opened my eyes to the many ecological problems that our oceans face. There’s a fantastic multimedia web offering from the Los Angeles times called Altered Oceans that’s definitely worth viewing. Part 4 of this series deals specifically with plastic waste.