Sailing the seas of garbage (ocean plastic), no thank you! The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch has been described as an island of trash floating just offshore, but this is not actually the case. Off the coast of California, NOAA has identified and named the Eastern Garbage Patch which is not actually a solid mass but more of a dense collection of particles mainly consisting of unbroken down plastic.

Pacific Convergence

Pacific Convergence Zone

Contrary to rumors, the garbage patch cannot be seen aerially or via satellite photography since it is comprised of very small particles in a denser concentration mainly due to ocean currents and actually covers a very large area. The urban myth of the Pacific Garbage Patch has caught the attention of the average person and therefore is successful in communicating a need to reduce the amount of plastics we use and to dispose of plastics properly.

Destined to have a Plastic Beach?

In California our lives revolve around the Pacific Ocean, work and play often take place on our coastline and in the water.  The incentive to keep it beautiful is common ground for Democrats, Republicans and all political affiliations.  None of us want to be surrounded by our own trash (ocean plastic), much less other people’s trash! It certainly seems as though we have come a long way since the 1970’s.  We are more vigilant about disposing of our trash and it seems like everyone you see is toting reusable drinking chalices, for not just water but all beverages. Every store sells reusable cloth bags for next to nothing, free in some cases.

We all know change can be painfully slow especially when convenience is sacrificed, but doing the right thing and feeling good about it is well worth any initial discomfort. Media reports and hype about plastics in our oceans are alarming as they are intended to be, but it’s important to keep perspective.  Heaping mounds of trash in photos are actually not from the Pacific Ocean and alarming statistics cause paranoia that we are all destined be suffocated and buried in our own trash. Not a pretty thought or mental image. Fear often prompts action and reaction, and in this instance, our fear has translated into activism, we are all coastal keepers and protectors of our waterways.

Ocean Plastic and Marine Animals


Seal with Plastic Bottle

Since the 1970’s most of us have started to reduce the amount of garbage we produce, reuse products (including refilling and repurposing) and recycle everywhere. Thirty years later it’s important to look at where we are at.  NOAA has been monitoring the presence of plastic pollutants in the ocean beginning in the 1970’s. Recent follow up studies completed in 2009 off the coast of California involved comparing the volume of trash (mainly consisting of plastics) collected in 1972. The expedition found 100 times increase in the amount of plastics. By the numbers, it is estimated that 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic are ingested by fish and other marine life. The major sources of plastics that will never really break down include plastic bags and plastic drinking bottles, which will end up making a pepper soup consistency in the ocean of tiny particles of plastic.

We can do Better at Reducing Ocean Plastic

It is estimated that 1,500 plastic water bottles are consumed every second and in California alone 14 billion plastic bags are distributed annually (while only 3% of those are recycled).  These are big scary numbers, yet with over 1.3 million residents in San Diego, being the second most populated city in the state of California, we could make a significant impact on reducing the amount of plastics that are used and disposed of.  The California coastline is a national treasure, and we pay to play in the sun and sea.  In San Diego our waterways are our major arteries and it is critical that they don’t get clogged with plastic.


Join San Diego Boat Tours for a cruise to see all some of out natural resources in San Diego Bay on one of out luxury yachts.  Whether a private charter or a corporate event – you will be impressed by the beauty you see around you!

[callout font_size=”13px” style=”fire”]

We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future. ( Bill Clinton – 42nd President of the United States)


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Call Now