Man to SWIM through Pacific Garbage Patch

There is a man out there that not only wants to swim the length of the Pacific Ocean but plans to chart his course directly through the North Pacific Gyre (also know as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch).  His swim is an attempt to bring attention to a place heavily polluted by our trash.

The North Pacific Gyre area is North of Hawaii where currents are converging ocean debris into a trash heap.  There are several of these floating garbage patches throughout the world and this one is roughly twice the size of Texas.  In the gyre is an accumulation of floating and slightly submerged plastics debris.  What kind of plastics?  You can guess the regulars: lighters, bottle caps, decomposed bits of things we buy and toss without a thought.  The scary stuff is the plastic that is so small we can’t even see it.  Millions of tiny plastic beads, some smaller than our eye can see–like those found in some shampoo and skin exfoliators–are drifting with the currents into this waste land.

In trying to bring attention to this ecological disaster, Richard Pain plans to swim 5,590 plus miles across the Pacific ocean and pass directly through the Pacific Garbage Patch.  He’ll swim within a towed, 6 meter capsule that will serve as a safety cage and estimates the journey will take 45 weeks to reach land.  This ambitious swim is reminiscent of a 2007 through swim of the Amazon river.  Martin Strel swam 3,274 miles down from the Peruvian mountains, through rainforests of Brazil and into the Atlantic.  The dramatic trip was a first complete swim of the Amazon river and much of the world watched.

This Pacific swim, if it happens, looks like another one that shall not be overlooked.  In the meantime, there are several other interesting projects under way to bring more light on the Gyres of the world.  Take a look online, search some key words like gyre, clean up, ocean and learn more about efforts are being made.  If you have an interest in some reading about the effect we have on our environment (i.e.: plastics in the ocean), check out The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.

3 Responses to “Man to SWIM through Pacific Garbage Patch

  • My understanding is that it isn’t anything like a patch, even though it is most often described as one. In fact the plastic is very scattered in an area twice the size of Texas, and it isn’t “slightly submerged” but rather 300 ft to 2 miles (!) deep in places.

    Also according to Wikipedia, a gyre in oceanography is “any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements”. In this case, the gyre has large concentrations of garbage.

    • darbyandjoan
      11 years ago

      Here is an additional resource released by the NOAA’s Marine Debris Program on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

      Thanks for the comments!

    • no matter what it, is or what it isnt! there is a big problem that my fellow mankind needs to be aware of….. what needs to be done ??????.. simple solution recover the debris. my self and other recently terminated workers across the great divide, hop on board the recology flag ship and conquer the gyre heap!!!! we made it now we must take care of it…

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