Halfway between Hawaii and California there lies a new island destination.
This island expands 1.6 square kilometers and enjoys sunshine all-year-round.
The destination is gaining increasing attention from visitors all around the world, including scuba divers and marine researchers.
The island began getting international attention in 1988 when written about by Alaskan-based researchers. In 2012, it was the subject of a Ted Talk which really got the world interested.
Before you start packing your bags and looking up flights, we should let you in on something. The island is made entirely of floating plastic waste. We know. Disgusting.
You may know it as Plastic Island, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, The Plastic Trash Vortex, The Eastern Garbage Patch… whatever you call it, we need to do something about it and fast.
Harm to marine life is, in some cases, direct. Of the 1.5 million albatrosses that inhabit the area, nearly all are likely to have plastic in their bellies. Approximately one-third of their chicks die, and many of those deaths are from plastic unwittingly fed to them by their parents.
On the microscopic level, debris can absorb organic pollutants from seawater, with toxic effects. These toxin-containing plastic pieces are also eaten by jellyfish, which are then eaten by fish and then by humans.
Yep, many of us are consuming toxic plastic particles, every day, through the fish we eat.
Marine plastics facilitate the spread of invasive species that attach to floating plastic in one region and drift long distances to colonize other ecosystems. Debris affects at least 267 species worldwide.
Step 1: Buy a Smuggy and make sure your coffee cup doesn’t end up on vacation in Plastic Island.