Where does all the plastic go?
The real Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Photo by Miriam Goldstein, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2010 EX1006 cruise.

For the first couple of years of this page I showed a picture of a man in a canoe paddling though trash to depict the Great pacific garbage patch. I read an online article and was mistakenly sucked in by the picture when I created this page.

In 2012 I was contacted by some students and writers who wanted permission to use the "man in a canoe" image on their flyer/books, I told them I had copied it from the web . Thankfully, a journalist contacted me later the same year and subsequently I learnt the truth - the great pacific garbage patch is actually non photogenic and the man in a canoe image is actually from a Manila waterway.

We hunger for a compelling image to help us understand the issue. But depending too much on spectacular imagery can actually limit our understanding. We create islands where none exist, and then waste our time searching for them.

Andrew Blackwell’s Visit Sunny Chernobyl via deepseanews

Plastic pollution in the form of small particles (diameter less than 5 mm)—termed ‘microplastic’—has been observed in many parts of the world ocean. [In this paper], we show that microplastic concentrations in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) have increased by two orders of magnitude in the past four decades.

Increased oceanic microplastic debris enhances oviposition in an endemic pelagic insect, Miriam C. Goldstei1, Marci Rosenberg and Lanna Cheng - April 2012.


Quick Plastic Facts

Have you ever noticed a triangle symbol on some plastic with a number inside it?

Where does the plastic collected for recycling in Ireland go?

Register & join a clean coasts group in Ireland

Please email email me if you have any additional links or information for this page.