Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Return of the Garbage Patch Kids

Return of the Garbage Patch Kids
Voice of San Diego
Aug. 24, 2009

Miriam Goldstein was floating on an inflatable raft in one of the planet's oldest biological communities, curiously watching gelatinous creatures few humans have ever seen, when she noticed tiny polka dots of plastic bobbing on the ocean surface.

Goldstein was shocked to see firsthand how big pieces of synthetic debris are breaking down and littering the North Pacific Gyre with "micro-plastics" -- almost undetectable, confetti-like bits that could end up fouling the entire food chain, from zooplankton to humans.

"So there are all these cool organisms, and they're underneath this sort of layer of plastics just floating there," said Goldstein, the chief scientist on a Scripps Institution of Oceanography mission to study the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch that has collected in the gyre, which is about 1,000 miles off the California coast...

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