Scouring the Seas for Plastic

Dec 18, 2014

Carolynn Box holds a vial with a small sample of the millions of plastic fragments floating in each of the world's oceans.
Credit Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Carolynn Box is a Sonoma County native and 1996 Analy High School grad who has spent much of the past four years at sea, trawling the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans for plastic particles with the activist non-profit, Five Gyres. And finding them virtually everywhere.

Much of the plastic debris floating in the world's oceans originated as large pieces--such as this chuck of a plastic crate that Box is holding-- but is broken down into increasingly small particles.
Credit Carolynn Box

 It has been suggested that specially outfitted ships could scoop up plastic particles from the gyres and recycle them. But having seen the scale of the problem first-hand, Carolynn Box is skeptical.

The above video offers a basic explanation of what the oceanic gyres are and why they exist.  A second one, below, take you onboard a Five Gyres trawling expedition in the North Atlantic in 2010.