By now, you've probably heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a giant accumulation of trash in the Pacific Ocean that’s about twice the size of Texas.
According to a study published in the journal Nature last year, most all this oceanic garbage is plastic - about 1.6 trillion pieces of it. But the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t unique. It's just one of five major garbage patches in the world’s oceans. And these garbage patches are just a fraction of the plastic that’s been dumped in our seas over the past several decades.
The spread of plastic across the world's oceans is taking a grim toll on marine life. Unfortunately the problem is only getting worse, with an estimated 8 million tons of plastic added to the oceans each year.
On this addition of Global Journalist, a look at the problem of marine plastic pollution and what might be done to halt it.
Joining the program:
- Stephen Leahy, environmental journalist who writes for outlets including National Geographic and Inter-Press Service
- Clare Ostle, marine biogeochemist, Marine Biological Association
- Kate Melges, senior ocean plastics campaigner, Greenpeace USA
- Gary Griggs, professor of earth and planetary sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
Assistant producers: Gaëlle Fournier, Connor O'Halloran, Annie Le
Supervising producer: Rosemary Belson
Visual editor: Megan Smaltz