The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre has a massive spiral of floating plastic crap floating over an area estimated from the size of Texas to bigger than the continental United States. Most of this plastic is from run-off from rivers and streams from around the world, much of it gradually breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that eventually become as small as plankton. Already in vast areas of the ocean these plankton-sized particles outnumber the real particles by greater than 7 : 1.
This plastic can also act as a chemical sponge soaking up and concentrating all kinds of nasty chemicals which then enter the food chain with devastating impact to all kinds of marine life, birds and perhaps eventually returning back to us in new deadly forms. This is an complex and urgent issue we should all learn as much as possible about and put pressure on politicians to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution as much as possible and to launch campaigns to start to clean up the oceans.
Here is a great video, The Sythetic Sea and below are some great links for information on this issue.
World biggest garbage dump – plastic in the Ocean
Trashed great article and site by Mindfully.org on plastic in the ocean.
Plastic Soup Flash presentation on the Alguita oceanographic research voyage into the great pacific garbage patch.
The Trash Vortex Greenpeace article on this issue.
Sea of Trash – NYT article 6/22/08