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

By Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips

In 2009, a U.N. joint commission estimated that 6.4 million metric tons of plastic waste currently pollutes the oceans. The U.N. also estimates that 5 million pieces of plastic enter the oceans each day from land. Captain Charles Moore thinks these figures, as shocking as they may seem, could be woefully optimistic.

Capt. Charles Moore

In 1997, Moore, skipper of ORV Alguita, a 50-foot Tasmania-built catamaran, first comes upon some of that plastic on his way back from a trans-Pacific sailing race, when the strongest El Niño on record forces a detour through the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre — in sailor lingo, the doldrums. There, he and his travel companions find themselves slowly traversing what he describes as a “plastic soup,” a sweeping mid-oceanic tract speckled with scraps of plastic. He is incredulous, yet galvanized.

The Alguita

PLASTIC OCEAN: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans(Avery, October 27, 2011, $26, Hardcover) by Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips tells how Moore returns to this area, soon to be redubbed The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and culls scientific samples with a game but mostly neophyte crew. The results are shocking: plastic caught in his nets outweigh zooplankton, the oceans’ food base, by a factor of six to one. His research prompts a massive global reassessment of plastics’ invasiveness and raises profound questions about the implications of this man-made, floating landfill.

His initial voyage, his subsequent trips back, his research into this startling discovery, his hard-won scientific credibility, and his dogged, game-changing efforts to get the world to pay attention to a looming plastic peril, are chronicled in PLASTIC OCEAN.

Estimated at three million tons of plastic debris in the Northeast Pacific, between Hawaii and the West Coast, The Great North Pacific Garbage Patch is roughly two million square miles.

Plastic on Kamilo Beach,

With recent natural disasters such as the Japanese tsunami and the flooding in Mississippi and the plastic waste that has been swept out to see as a result, it is more important than ever to clean up our plastics on land in order to keep them out of our oceans.

Captain Moore is one of the main drivers of our awareness of plastic pollution; PLASTIC OCEAN reminds readers that the cleanliness of our water is of utmost importance to our survival, the survival of other species both animal and plant on this planet, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of what happens when you throw away that plastic bag or bottle and where it ultimately ends up.

PLASTIC OCEAN: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched
A Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

Captain Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips | Avery Books
October 27, 2011 |26.00 | Hardcover
Also available as an eBook
One 8-page color photo insert



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