The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a heaving flotsam of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. It's bigger than Texas. And it's not the only repository of plastic garbage.
22 years of towing nets through swaths of the Atlantic Ocean confirm a large plastic garbage patch in its northern gyre too:
the chemicals that they leach out. Especially troubling is BPA:
About three million tons of BPA-containing plastics are produced each year. The United Nations estimates that the average square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash. “Marine debris plastic in the ocean will certainly constitute a new global ocean contamination for long into the future.”The plastic already in the ocean is doing its damage, and there's little we can now do about it.
What we can do is stop adding more. Stop buying beverages in plastic bottles, especially water. Choose purchases without plastic packaging. Don't buy things made of plastic where other alternatives exist. Employ reusable cloth or canvas bags when shopping instead of single-use plastic bags. Recycle plastic. Stray plastic eventually finds its way into our oceans, and it can stray, even from trash receptacles, with very little wind or other action.
Plastic is not sustainable.