Archived entries for Science

Global Expedition to Study Marine Plastic Pollution in Ocean Gyres Ends in South Pacific

Leave it to the pioneering researchers with 5 Gyres Institute, they’re doing it again, completing their fifth expedition through all five subtropical gyres with another scheduled expedition coming soon. This completes the most extensive study of marine plastic pollution that has ever been undertaken, 2 years and over 25,000 miles across the worlds oceans. Most recently they collected data from the South Pacific Gyre where scarce data previously existed on plastic pollution. 

“We had no idea what to expect, though we knew that the South Pacific Gyre has a more dense accumulation zone than the other gyres”, explained Anna Cummins, who with Marcus Eriksen, PhD, co-founded The 5 Gyres Institute in 2009. Much of the media in the past has made this issue difficult to understand and further communicate, making analogies to such gyres as “islands” to try and convey the large amount of plastic debris that accumulates in these areas. Better described as a “soup”, far less dense than an “island of plastic”, this type of pollution is extensive in the water column of subtropical gyres – and, poses much more of a threat than a single dense mass. “We found little plastic until we approached the center of the gyre, where we suddenly began seeing more large and small plastic fragments floating past the hull of our vessel.”

Read the full press release by clicking on the link below and learn more about 5 Gyres at

Plastic found in all 5 Gyres_Press release

Send Surfrider PDX Chair to Sea – Vote today!

Surfrider’s Portland Chapter Chair, Nastassja Pace, has been volunteering and advocating for awareness on the marine plastic pollution for years. She has been tirelessly fighting for the campaign – BAN the BAG – to ban single-use plastic bags in Oregon, taught thousands of children about re-use and recycling practices and makes art depicting the plastic pollution problem plaguing the worlds’ oceans.

Right now, Nastassja has the opportunity of a lifetime — to join 5Gyres, scientists and activists aboard Sea Dragon on a 10 day sailing trip in the South Pacific Gyre to study and document marine plastic debris.

Please help Nastassja win the Chaco Wave of Change Art Contest by voting for her plastic wave painting today! Simply click on the link here and had her name, Nastassja Pace, to the comments section. And pass the link along. Thank you!

Plastic in the Food Chain

Here’s a great visual from our friends over at the 5 Gyres Project. A great reminder that plastic pollution doesn’t just affect our environment, it affects our personal health as well.

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