Radio Times

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

January 23, 2012


A patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles west of California. The patch is a vortex formed by ocean currents and collects human-produced trash. (AP file photo/ Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Hour 2

Last year’s Japanese tsunami provoked fears of widespread radiation leaks and set off a nuclear crisis as clean up crews furiously raced to contain the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Meanwhile another environmental concern resulting from the devastation has emerged. Several recent reports indicate that over 15 million tons of wreckage and debris are heading toward Canada and the West Coast, and some scientists have confirmed that it is beginning to wash up on the coast. Joining us to talk about this issue is CURTIS EBBESMEYER, author of Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science, who is currently modeling the path of the tsunami debris. But the flotsam is just one aspect of a much larger problem: plastic in the ocean. CAPTAIN CHARLES MOORE, author Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans, will discuss his discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, the proliferation of plastic in the world’s oceans and the environmental threat that it poses to marine life.

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