North Pacific Debris Gallery

NOAA Debris Research Cruise

In the spring of 2008 I joined the ATI team on a NOAA research cruise into the “North Pacific Gyre”, AKA “North Pacific Garbage Patch” — an area north of Hawaii the size of Texas where floating plastic debris collects.  Plastic can break into smaller chunks but it doesn’t really decompose, or it degrades so slowly that it is accumulating much faster than it is disappearing.  This leads to an increasing colleciton of junk and garbage on the surface of our oceans and is an ecological problem.  I’ll leave it to others to debate the magnitude of the problem, but from a personal perspective, being out there myself and seeing the amount of junk, I was greatly saddened. It’s a big mess that is almost impossible to clean up, and it’s in a remote area that most people do not see.

There were many fascinating, exciting, and challenging aspects to this trip, but here I am simply displaying my picture collection of North Pacific Gyre Junk.

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