The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Not What You Think It Is | The Swim


SCENES LIKE THIS ARE A DAILY REALITY FOR
THE CREW OF SEEKER ON THEIR PACIFIC TREK. SOME ESTIMATES HOLD THAT BY 2050, THERE COULD
BE AS MUCH PLASTIC AS THERE ARE FISH IN THE OCEAN. BUT WHAT IS ALL THIS JUNK, EXACTLY? WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? AND IS IT REALLY CONCENTRATED IN A GIANT ‘GARBAGE PATCH’ SOMEWHERE OUT THERE? MARCUS ERIKSEN IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST
WHO HAS MADE IT HIS LIFE’S MISSION TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF MARINE PLASTIC. IT’S A GLOBAL ISSUE, BECAUSE PLASTIC ACCUMULATES IN GYRES, LARGE CIRCULAR CURRENTS THAT THREAD
THROUGH THE WORLD’S OCEANS. What’s leaving land heading out to sea is
all the single-use packaging: it’s the straws, the bags, the bottles, the cup lids, the stir
sticks, all this junk that we use once and throw away. A plastic bottle leaving California will get
to Japan in about three to five years and come back across the northern half
of the North Pacific. That spinning mass of water is a gyre. Plastic trash will migrate to those zones
and get stuck. We actually take boats out in the middle of
nowhere, we drag our net behind the boat and we count the plastic particles that are floating. Working with ocean modelers, we can get these
regional maps of how much trash is out there, what it is and where it is. BUT ANSWERING EVEN THESE BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT MARINE DEBRIS HAS PROVEN TO BE SURPRISINGLY CHALLENGING. IN FACT, EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT THE PROVERBIAL ‘GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH’ STARTED IN 1990, WHEN A CONTAINER SHIP SPILLED 61,000 SNEAKERS INTO THE OCEAN. Realizing that a lot of these sneakers would
never come to shore, that they would would just be stuck in this vortex, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, working with
James Ingraham Jr. at NOAA, they’re the ones that came up with the term
‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’ CAPTAIN CHARLES MOORE IS OFTEN CREDITED WITH
THE FIRST OBSERVATIONS OF THE PATCH, A CONSTELLATION OF MICROPLASTIC PARTICLES THAT CAPTURED THE PUBLIC’S IMAGINATION. Captain Charles Moore had described the area:
he said, ‘Look, I’m in an area roughly twice the size of Texas where I’m doing my transects’
and that hit the media by storm. There aren’t these islands of trash;
they don’t exist. It’s more like a smog of microplastic particles,
billions of them, very toxic over a wide area. EVEN WHEN THEY BECOME BRITTLE AND BREAK APART, PLASTIC PIECES PERSIST. UNABLE TO OXIDIZE OR BECOME WATERLOGGED LIKE
METALS, WOOD OR PAPER, ALL TYPES OF PLASTIC ARE DESIGNED TO DEFEAT NATURAL DECAY. In general, high density polyethylene, number
two plastic, is the most common plastic in consumer use, and it makes your soap bottles,
it makes your toothbrushes, it makes many of the consumer goods that float out in the
garbage patch. If we think in terms of all the plastic that’s
been produced since 1950, since it’s a synthetic material, hydrocarbons, it’s probably still
here today on the planet. DR. SARAH-JEANNE ROYER WORKS WITH
DR. NIKOLAI MAXIMENKO AND HIS TEAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF TRACKING TRASH. Most of the time, we will find only bottle
caps and not the bottle itself because the bottle is made out of PET. It’s sinking because the density of PET is
higher than seawater. DESPITE THE DRAMATIC AMOUNT OF PLASTIC THE
CREW OF SEEKER HAS ENCOUNTERED, SOME ESTIMATES HOLD THAT 99% OF OCEAN-BOUND PLASTIC WASTE IS STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR. THAT’S WHY SARAH’S TEAM IS WORKING WITH
THE SWIM EXPEDITION AND THE OCEAN VOYAGES INSTITUTE TO TAG AND TRACK THE WASTE THEY FIND. The Swim are using two different protocols. The first protocol is a visual survey of all
marine debris they see from the vessel itself. Whenever they find an object that is large
enough, they will get closer to the debris, they will take pictures of it. If there are numbers or lettering, they will
share this information with us, so we can track back the origin of that debris. The second protocol is basically to attach
a GPS buoy onto a marine debris to track their movement in
the ocean. ONCE THE TRACKER IS ACTIVATED, IT ENABLES
SCIENTISTS TO BOTH IMPROVE MODELS OF HOW TRASH TRAVELS  IN THE OCEAN, AND LEARN WHERE TO FOCUS CLEANUP EFFORTS. MOST OF THE TIME, SARAH AND HER TEAM CAN’T IMMEDIATELY TELL WHERE A PIECE OF PLASTIC COMES FROM. BUT THEY CAN LOOK FOR OTHER CLUES. We need to use an FTIR or micro-Raman spectroscopy. This spectrum is matching a spectrum that is found in the library telling us what is the type of plastic. It’s probably the dream of all scientists
to have a satellite and a new instrumentation to be able to quantify the amount of plastic
floating at sea. THE ENTIRE LIFE CYCLE OF PLASTIC IS POISONOUS. ITS MANUFACTURING PROCESS DEPENDS ON HARMFUL CHEMICALS, AND WHEN RELEASED INTO THE ENVIRONMENT, IT SOAKS UP EVEN MORE TOXINS, AND TRANSPORTS THEM FAR AND WIDE… INCLUDING INTO OUR BODIES. PLASTIC CAN CHOKE THE OCEAN’S ABILITY TO ABSORB CO2 FROM THE ATMOSPHERE,
EXACERBATING CLIMATE CHANGE. Only 10 percent of the habitat is on land. The rest, 90 percent of the habitat’s in the
ocean, and it’s totally unexplored for the most part. Imagining all the jungles, all
the deserts, all the savannas, all the Rocky Mountains… the ocean would be nine times more. The idea that somehow it could be 50 percent
plastic, 50 percent fish in a mere 30 years is horrifying. BUT THE SITUATION IS FAR FROM HOPELESS. ORGANIZATIONS ARE DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO CLEAN UP OCEAN PLASTIC. MATERIALS SCIENTISTS ARE TURNING THEIR ATTENTION TO NEW PACKAGING SOLUTIONS. AND CONSUMERS ARE MAKING MORE INFORMED CHOICES EVERY DAY. How can we use our science to influence laws and policymakers? When you refuse the single-use plastics, it
has an effect on your neighborhood, on your local watershed, and the ocean. Now, seeing the UN talking about it, seeing
companies rise up and say, ‘We’re going zero waste.’ To see countries make a commitment to stop
the flow of trash from land to sea… I feel optimistic that we can solve this problem. Be sure to visit Seeker.com/TheSwim to read
daily updates from Ben Lecomte, track his progress in real time, and watch more videos
about the science happening onboard Seeker. Click here for this next episode, and don’t
forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Not What You Think It Is | The Swim”

  1. Ocean health is so important, we're dedicating an entire week to raising awareness of the plastic pollution problem! Join us this week, and tell us what you're doing to reduce plastic waste with #JoinTheSwim. 🏊🏻‍♂️🐋

  2. Me and my friend clean our local beaches in Northern Ireland (Portrush and Portstewart) but 99% of the people we see just walk past us and just think that the sea will wash it away and wash it up somewhere else to be someones elses problem. The mindset of humans and rubbish is more disgusting than the rubbish itself.

  3. We just need to gather up all the plastic on earth and launch it into the sun before any more damage is done.

  4. Human ignorance and irresponsible behaviour is damaging the natural ecosystem and this makes me really upset. The only way to avoid this is through awareness and strict legislative measures.

  5. those plastic you've showed are mostly coming from Vessel the green container is a 20 liter chemical for cleaning.

  6. IT'S UP TO US TO BOYCOTT PLASTICS, I MY SELF HAVE STARTED TO LOOK FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT IN PLASTIC ! EVEN IF IT'S SOMETHING I LIKE. & I CALL THERE CORPORATION'S & ASK THEM TO CHANGE THEIR PACKAGING, IF ITS LIQUID, USE THE OLD FASHIONED TYPE OF MILK CARTIN,IT WAS LIND WITH WAX , There was nothing wrong with it.

  7. THANK YOU 4 DOING WHAT YOU DO, WISH I WAS YOUNG AGAIN, I WOULD GLADLY JOIN YOU PHYSICALLY, INSTEAD I'LL JUST BE CAREFUL SHOPPING 4 PRODUCTS THAT ARE IN PLASTIC !😇👵🐳💞

  8. 95% of all plastic waste in the ocean get there via 10 rivers in China, India and Africa. How about we stop them from putting it in the ocean in the first place? $100 million fine for every year they continue?

  9. While Asian Countries are produce Useful Products & Services …. Some Filthy Wealthy Western Nations are producing Rubbish! And they are influencing Asian Countries to do the same. This is Human Rights abuse! Some Western Countries (no brainer, irresponsible), not only looking down on Asians but Spreading Disease and illness, without Any Regards for Health of Human Beings.

  10. Why dont we melt them to a solid could use the sun and some fresnel lenses remote even just an idear then a solid object would be easier to remove

  11. Trash should be sent to incenterators to dispose of this waste toxic problem and use nature volcano to be melted down………junk yards abandoned cars towns and discarded waste………and so what if it blows……….stop killing the planet

  12. O selfish man, care only for yourself, and for those who love you from creation, what are they, but the nations like you? 🙉🦓🦄🐮🦌🐼🐺🐶🐰🐹🦡🐘🦘🦒⁦🕊️⁩🦢🦆🐟🐓🐧🐦🦀🦞🦋🐞🐌🐜🐝📢⌛

  13. SOS, SAVE OUR SYSTEM !! SOS, SAVE OUR SELF !! WAKE UP EVERYONE !! WE EACH HAVE TO DO IT. ONE TIME, ONE 🌎 EARTH !!

  14. If we don't reduce our unecessary consumption, reuse things as long as possible and control human population growth, we will have no hope AT ALL.

  15. This whining about the problem is a prime example of how today's people are radically different from the people of yesteryear. For example., in the past, people would see a problem and calculate how that problem could be solved and in the process MAKE MONEY doing it. It seems to me that since we know where this crap is collecting, and it floats, then ships could be equipped to seine it out and since it is already broken down to smaller parts, take it to recycling plants where it can be SOLD. Think of it as any other crop. Do you think cotton–which has tiny hard seed inside each boll–was easy to convert into a mass market product. No, it was hard until the invention by White MAN Eli Whitney created the cotton gin. Look at any problem–do you think getting a white MAN to the moon and safely back to earth was easy? No, it was not. But we did it because people of the time saw that should they be able to do it, that knowledge could be built upon to make space travel a market. Look around you and Virgin, and Musk, aren't they close to just those things? It seems that since we have allowed beta males and the White women that these betas enable to take charge of our society all Americans–indeed the Western World–does these days is lament problems, as if–in true 'damsel in distress' mode–they are waiting for a WHITE knight to ride in and save them, all the while trying to destroy the creation of White Knights.

  16. Okay like I know that u are trying to help the animals and I appreciate at it but when u take out the trash you put it back in the trash and goes back to the ocean

  17. Sadly only a small group of people will ever care enough. The rest will just go on about there day waste 5 minutes being worried then die and leave the problem to the next generation. Works every time right….. O wait

  18. All of humanity would like to help resolve this issue I am sure about that. It's only that stupid government we all have that block us from doing something against this madness. Politicians, Millionares, Billionares are all in love with their money. Then also comes in the way the conflicts between countries that can lead to war. And here I am, a simple European that would like to clean up the ocean, but I am just not capable of doing something like this. I hate this so much. I want fishes to live in the ocean, and to have a normal life when it comes to weather and temperature. This whole thing sucks 🙁

  19. All governments and billionaires, it affects you too, build a trash eating 🚢 ship. Needs to be manned as it needs to focus only on garbage and not the fish 🐠 that’s attracted to shiny garbage and aluminum cans floating. So a non harmful vibration needs to first be in the area of water of trash, scaring all fish, dolphins and whales away, then the ship “ eats” all the garbage. Look billionaires like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, James Cameron and Ted Turner, just do it.

  20. The so called white man destroys the air, water, food, land, ocean and the animals and humans living in both areas. GOD hates these filthy cancerous people.

  21. It is great that we (all the countries involved) are actively stopping, collecting and reprocessing the oceans plastics and we must "never stop doing such". However, here is the conundrum I have with the rest of the world.
    If you compare it to a city block and all the houses are junk piles and you decide to clean up your life style. Well that is great and now you have a beautiful place but the garbage and such from all your neighbours will forever still find its way into your yard.
    Therefore, there should be a world accord that all countries, great and small, have to abide by and clean up their yard.
    Then you will be decades ahead of the problem.
    Still you are all doing the world a great service.
    Regards.

  22. What is the single most contributor to the worlds environmental problems?
    People are, right!
    Well than, if the rate of births are still on the rise for the whole world, then your not going to get ahead of this problem, if you do the math on it.
    Maybe if the world reduced their birth rate then we would have a chance to control it.
    Start by taxing families with more than "X" children. (rich and poor alike by % of income etc).
    Just saying.
    Regards.

  23. A Presumptuous Opinion: People are not going to the beaches and dumping plastics. What happens to all the plastic garbage on cruise ships? Perhaps the cruise ships release the their plastic garbage at night in the oceans? No witnesses.

  24. A Presumptuous Opinion: People are not going to the beaches and dumping plastics. What happens to all the plastic garbage on cruise ships? Perhaps the cruise ships release the their plastic garbage at night in the oceans? No witnesses.

  25. Sarah-Jeanne Royer, I wish I could understand more than 45% of what you're trying to say. You should get some help to improve your pronunciation.

  26. I want to give a good suggestion. But what is the real thing in the person's case, because we are not aware of ourselves .
    +8801788460222 my WhatsApp number
    any ocean lover's
    Please contact me .

  27. this is heart breaking. we need to make a change!! please reduce the amount of plastic you use. it may seem like a small change, but if everyone does it, we’d make a huge impact.

  28. The government is mostly at fault for providing permits for these companies to t dump contaminates and toxins into our oceans . And permits to dump Even in our rivers. They are part of the problem too

  29. Imagine all of the packaging, fuel for factory farming, synthetic fertilizer, fuel for shipping, etc. that could be saved if everyone grew their own salad greens alone. Not to mention how much healthier we'd be.

    We're trying to grow 100% of the vegetables we eat. We build our compost with leaves and poultry bedding, and enrich it with our own vermicast and rabbit manure. We feed the rabbits, red wrigglers, quail, and chickens our kitchen and garden waste.

  30. Imagine if every groceries store put the particular pictures of how marine life recently (such as turtles trapped in a rope or a whale that got its belly cut and plastics are inside in a huge amount) so while the customer are waiting their groceries counted they can see this kind of pictures and let that sink in on their conscious, or even make them think twice to use single use plastic or even use a products wrapped in plastic, its maybe sounds really cliché but every small things can bring an impact even just a small one

  31. So sad humans are killing the oceans. India dumps trash and chemicals into their river and it goes into the ocean. India and other countries that pollution the oceans should be held accountable. Only one person wants to clean the oceans and he is only 21 years old.

  32. This aint our planet..
    We kill animals fish humans..
    We destroy habitats lives the earth!
    And all that cuz we dont want to get up and help a little bit

  33. The government should have to make this rule that if anyone will catch 1 million plastic they will get a biggest prize it is good way to control eco system of ocens please guys use less pastic😔😢

  34. This is a lie. Polution doesn't exist. Deforestation doesn't exist. Species going exting is a lie. Global warming doesn't exist. It's just a liberal scam to make us buy more paper bags.

    Trump 2020, Maga. /s

  35. to solve the plastic "ocean" problem we need to discover a (dissolving) material, that along with sea salt sodium and water it will start to decay and decompose itself, Also- no more water containers and maybe focus on more paper package wrapping too, for the time being ,
    I always had in my mind the thought of a gel type of material or things close to the food wrapping we use today , and always recycle as part of human to nature awareness .

  36. YES, WE KILLING US WITH THE PLASTICTRASH, BUT EVERY DAY!!!
    The people maked to much Videos in Internet about Worldsproblem – PLASTIC, but,
    we make a new Tons of Plastic Trash every moment, Worldwide!!! The Sysiphos job!

  37. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO USE LESS PLASTIC"? GOOD QUESTION!!!
    Ich sammle die Plastic, jeden Tag, was kann ich sonst machen? Uberall Plastic!!! Ich
    beobachte die Massen, die kaufen und kaufen Plasticprodukten ohne Ende, Realitat!

  38. Meine worte uber Plastikskonsum, hier, ignorieren alle!!! Einkaufsplastik ist normal!
    Die Menschen kaufen Plastik alle 24 Stunden in Supermarkt, niemand macht sich
    welche Gedanken uber Plastikmull, niemand!!! Hauptsache kaufen! Essen, drin
    ken, und weg mit dem Plastik, egal wo!!! Vollig egal wohin!!! Uberall Plastik!

  39. The vast majority of plastics that end up in the ocean originate from the poorest nations on earth with little capacity to landfill. As a result, it is the responsibility of governments and multi-national corporations to tackle the problem.

  40. This just mealts my heart😕🤯😭

    Today i went out and picked up trash from the beach and me and my family got more than 34 bags full of trash only from the beach and a loats of people were like "thank you for helping us" and i hope we can all do this😕 if we could all team up and pick up all the trash we can all make the world safe again❤🌍

  41. If those garbages are in the oceans that’s not by hazard. This is not the fault of the lack of people’s education. It is high time for the gouvernement to react fast before it is too late. More severe laws for the environment. We are killing oceans. Not only plastic pollution but mass tourism too! The best example is Maya Bay. Look how the corals got destroyed and how people polluted it. That’s a shame. Shame on you government not to take the crucial decision. One day you will regret it. The day the damages will be irreversible! Gandhi once said : “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

  42. Create a floating barge factory in the middle of this patch that can collect and melt the plastic into a mold to make wall panels for pre fabrication homes, and stop useing wood as much, also floating docks, maybe even boats.

  43. Fisher men dont even think about this . Only to wake up and catch fish and forget fish still need good place to produce more

  44. Human kind if were not killing each other were killing the planet as well.hope this can be stopped and a solution is found to reverse this catastrophe 🌏🌏😢

  45. They banned weed in the USA cuz it’s bad yet multi billion dollar company’s can produce plastic by the tons. Money IS everything

  46. Why do so many people say “I don’t litter” but there is so much trash in the oceans?

    I know,It sometimes isn’t you,it might be from a dumpster or while transporting it falls off the truck and gets taken away to the sea by the wind..

    This is a problem…so I really wanna go to pick up trash to the beach 🙂 there is not much trash in the sea (where I am,I mean like near the beach) and I am scared to get a lil deep in there so I’ll pick up trash from the beach before the wind takes it to the sea 🙂

  47. It’s so sad that we are just giving the ocean our leftovers. I personally want to change this sooooo bad but I don’t know how cause it doesn’t stop. I’ve done lots of research on ocean trash and it’s brought me to tears. It isn’t fair to the ocean animals cause they don’t deserve it. It’s going to kill the animals so we technically are hurting the food chain. I really wish people could just come to their senses and realize all of this is happening. I hope some day all of this can change and not only humans can live in peace but do can the ocean!!!!!

  48. Gasification of said plastics to produce syngas would be the best end use if not blended into new materials, aggregate etc. Chief complaint with recycled plastic is contamination making it unstable.

    Thorough sorting would no doubt help this.

    Then end emissions for tyre recycling have passed EPA approvals so plastics should do the same.
    Governments are not funding these much needed alternate energy sources which can provide energy and jobs in places where they have none.

    See FEMA gasifier designs for more info plus any YouTube videos on gasifiers.

  49. I use cloth shopping bags, I don't use any disposable cups or straws. But honestly it's the industry that must change. They are the ones producing the plastic and they should have to pay to clean the oceans too. Plus be banned from producing anything that is not biodegradable. 💖🌧🌧🌧🌍🌎🌏🌧🌧🌧💖

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