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Plastic Ocean – Charles Moore


Plastic Ocean

How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

Charles Moore

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 27, 2011

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group


The researcher who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—and remains one of today's key advocates for plastic pollution awareness—inspires a fundamental rethinking of the modern Plastic Age.  In 1997, environmentalist Charles Moore discovered the world's largest collection of floating trash—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ("GPGP")—while sailing from Hawaii to California. Moore was shocked by the level of pollution that he saw. And in the last 20 years, it's only gotten worse—a 2018 study has found that the vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean is now bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined—far larger than previously feared. In  Plastic Ocean , Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life of plastics. From milk jugs and abandoned fishing gear to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin and be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments, including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and certain cancers. An urgent call to action,  Plastic Ocean's  sobering revalations have been embraced by activists, concerned parents, and anyone alarmed by the deadly impact and implications of this man-made environmental catastrophe. 

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Plastic Ocean – Charles Moore

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The Ocean Cleanup project finally cleaned up some plastic

Well, folks, there’s a first time for everything — the Ocean Cleanup project has successfully deployed a device that collects plastic pollution.

It only took six years, tens of millions of dollars, and a few unsuccessful attempts (or “unscheduled learning opportunities,” in the words of 25-year-old founder and CEO Boyan Slat). The nonprofit’s prior, unsuccessful designs failed to catch any plastic, broke, or overflowed.

The new system even managed to pick up 1-millimeter microplastics, which Ocean Cleanup described as “a feat we were pleasantly surprised to achieve” in a press release.

Now that it finally has working technology, the Ocean Cleanup project hopes to scale up its fleet of 2,000-foot long, plastic-capturing, floating booms. The goal is to remove 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the next five years, and 90 percent of ocean plastic by 2040, an effort it estimates will require around 60 devices.

The project has drawn criticism over the years from scientists who argue it provides false hope and is disruptive to marine life. All that money and effort would be better spent diverting the 8 million tons of plastic that enter the oceans every year, the thinking goes.

To his credit, Slat acknowledges the importance of preventing pollution, not just cleaning it up. And his team of more than 80 scientists and engineers have also done some research that has contributed to what we know about the sources, scope, and nature of ocean plastic pollution — although their conclusions are controversial.

The first pieces of plastic gathered by Ocean Cleanup are on their way back to the U.S. to be recycled. Is it a perfect solution to the problem of ocean pollution? Probably not. But at the very least, we can all celebrate today knowing that the Dutch 18-year-old from that TED Talk, who saw plastic while scuba diving and asked, “Why don’t we just clean it up?”, is that much closer to his dreams coming true.

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The Ocean Cleanup project finally cleaned up some plastic

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