The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre is not a contiguous mass of debris. Bottles, abandoned fishing gear and beer crates are scattered across the expanse of ocean from Japan to California, though largely concentrated in two broad patches in the eastern and western parts of the Pacific. Floating below the surface are many, many microscopic plastic particles. All of it pollutes our planet.
Mary Crowly, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, has been working for over a decade to clean up the gyre, and has recently charted MCST partners, Island Ventures Ltd., to take the SV Kwai into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the single largest clean-up voyage to-date. Despite the laudable efforts by the crew of the Kwai, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations' Marine Debris Program, it would take 67 ships one year to clean up less than 1% of the waste. The clean-up trips undertaken brought 340,000 pounds of netting and consumer plastic waste back to shore.