Our biggest natural water resource is polluted with plastic! Are we doing enough??

Marine litter and in particular plastic waste, is a global problem.  The vast majority of plastic waste is destined for a landfill site, which limits the impact through ‘containment’, however does not solve the problem.  A significant proportion of plastic gets into the watercourse and eventually ends up in the oceans.  As might be expected the plastic waste on the coastlines is more prevalent around more populated coastal areas.  However, once the plastic waste enters the oceans it is influenced by global currents that distribute it around the world.

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Plastic has been found in all of the major oceans, not just areas of human habitation, often travelling vast distances.  It does not respect international boundaries and has invaded even the most remote places.  46% of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.  These ocean currents create zones of convergence where large mounts of plastic waste accumulates; much of this is particulate plastic that has been broken down through wind, wave and UV action over a period of time.

  • The North Pacific has been the focus of the majority of research, however, studies in other oceans show that concentrations of plastic waste are at a similar level.
  • Media descriptions of a solid mass of plastic twice the size of France in the Pacific are misleading.  The majority of the plastic in these areas are small particles, creating a ‘soup’ of waste.
  • The area that we know least about is the Indian Ocean, however, we do know that the region has developed a high concentration of plastic waste over a very short space of time.  Academics believe that it is likely to get worse as the population of the region continues to grow along with a more consumer-orientated economy.


The fact is that it doesn’t matter where you live plastic waste is pervasive, pernicious and persistent.  It reaches every part of the planet and it is all of our responsibilities to resolve this issue.

Have a look at this video and then rethink the above…

MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.