Friday, August 7, 2009
A group of marine biology students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego left several days ago for the North Pacific Gyre, a swirling trash vortex about 1,000 miles off he California coast, hoping to collect more data about the area. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury, a second group set off Tuesday in order to assist the Scripps voyage in ascertaining the extent of the debris-infested area, and to film material for a documentary about the problem.
The groups hope to determine ways to remove the garbage, and to understand more about its effects on ocean ecosystems.The Weekly called attention to the North Pacific Gyre in a 2007 cover story outlining the many consequences of plastic production and disposal. The 10-million-square-mile patch is home to a mind-boggling amount of junk, including millions plastic particles of every size. The shards are not biodegradable, kill wildlife that mistake them for food and contaminate the seafood humans eat.