Plastics in Pacific outnumber plankton 46 to 1: Bag Monsters flock to the feast

Posted by — October 14, 2008 7:58 pm

In response to the reusable bag movement, Bag Monsters all over the world are hitching a ride on wind gusts and river currents out to the Pacific Ocean where they can find an abundance of plastic bags and embody the old saying – you are what you eat.

In 1999 Capt. Charles Moore discovered plastic particles outnumbered plankton 6 to 1 in the Eastern Pacific Gyre (click image below for more info). Findings from his new research show that plastics now outnumber plankton 46 to 1!!! That’s about 10 Bag Monsters for every 100 microscopic plankton.

1 plankton…

46 plastics…

Do your part to save the seas – Bring your own bag.

Pacific Garbage Gyres

Littered plastic doesn’t just disappear – it finds its way into storm drains, rivers and finally out to the ocean. Needless to say, eating gobs of plastic has catastrophic implications for filter-feeders like whales and all other members of the food chain that often ends at the sea food counter of our grocery store. Plastics in the ocean act like sponges for carcinogens and toxic chemicals. These poisons predominantly enter the food chain its base and at each level of the food chain, the poisons increase in concentration and must be having a huge impact on beautiful critters like swordfish, sharks and humans.

BUT! There’s plenty much we can do, the easiest first step being…

Adopt a consistent reusable bag habit.

This month, Plenty Magazine honored Capt. Moore as one of 20 people who are changing the world for the better. Here’s what they had to say:


Charles Moore
Since 1997, Moore’s nonprofit, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, has documented the “great Pacific garbage patch.” Also known as the Pacific Gyre, the 3.5 million tons of plastic floating in the ocean threaten organisms of all sizes, from whales to plankton. In 2007, Moore found not just a patch but a super-highway of junk running between San Francisco and Japan. The discovery garnered international media attention, and now governments are adopting Moore’s protocols to monitor plastic waste in the ocean.

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