School Email Exchange

Do you see more plastics closer to the beach or far out to sea?

Posted on November 08 2012

Question submitted by George Washington Elementary School

During this research cruise we’ve seen a lot of plastic far out to sea in the North Pacific subtropical gyre, much more than in waters closer to shore near San Diego or Honolulu.  This is because ocean currents tend to sweep debris away from the coasts to the center of the gyre, where it ultimately accumulates.  We did not collect any data from beach environments, so we cannot compare what we have seen to beach plastic.