To donate to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, click HERE
Algalita Marine Research Foundation is a Long Beach, Ca. – based non-profit whose sole mission is to protect the marine environment. Founded in 1994, Algalita is the leading research organization studying the prevalence and quantification of plastic debris in the North Pacific Sub-tropical Gyre, and the biological impact of plastics on marine life and the human food chain.
Scientists have found over a seven-fold increase in ocean plastics in the last ten years, with the ratio of surface plastic to zooplankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre to 46:1 by weight, a dramatic increase from 6:1.
Algalita’s primary area of study has been the eastern part of the total North Pacific Subtropical Gyre: the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. No one can really say how large either the Gyre or the “Garbage Patch” are as currents, wind and other weather conditions contribute to circulation and movement, but the entire Gyre has yet to be completely circumnavigated in a single voyage. A fair estimate of the overall Gyre’s size is several million square miles.
The global plastics issue starts on land. Approximately 80% of all debris that winds up in our oceans comes from land-based origins, with only about 20% attributed to sea-related activities. The properties of plastic do not allow for absolute biodegradation within a human lifetime or even several generations of human life, nor can it dissolve into organic matter that can re-enter the life cycle. Consider that the average American throws away some 186 pounds of plastic per year and that our current recycling processes recover only about 6.8% of our municipal plastic waste, and the impact on our ocean environment begins to take shape.
To find out how you can help reduce your own “plastic footprint,” go to www.algalita.org