"The ocean is the blue heart of the planet; we should take care of our heart."
— Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of the Pacific Ocean created by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. It's a plastic soup that in some areas has concentrations of plastic 40 times greater than that of plankton. That means there is 40 times more plastic than food for the marine animals to eat. Scientists estimate its size to be at least twice the area of Texas.
80% of the plastic and trash that finds its way into our oceans comes from the land. It takes about five years for garbage from the west coast of the United States to make it to the gyre and about one year from Asia. Plastic debris in the ocean doesn't biodegrade. It photodegrades, meaning sunlight and water break it down to smaller and smaller pieces that are mistaken for food by fish, sea birds and marine mammals.
More than 260 species of marine animals are affected by plastic debris in the ocean, either by ingestion or entanglement. Laysan Albatross, sea turtles, monk seals, whales and many species of fish have been found with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.
The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education, and restoration.
Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation.
5 Gyres mission is to conduct research and communicate about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world's oceans and employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres.