This movie documents Jo Ruxton on a journey to the North Pacific Gyre.
This area of the ocean is known for containing a significant amount of garbage
collected, and more specifically plastic that has collected from different
countries throughout the world. As they set out on this journey, Ruxton had
expected to have discovered a large amount of plastic debris floating and
visible in the ocean waters. However, what was discovered was not as expected.
Instead of large amounts of debris, was a huge amount of what was called
microplastic floating in the water. These plastics were not always visible to
the person floating in the water, but when the water was skimmed the plastic
became clearly visible. As a result of this discovery, there was a desire to
see the reduction of plastic used in the world, and even more importantly the
amount of plastic being released into the world’s environment and oceans.
As part of this project, Ruston joined with Craig Leeson, who was a
journalist, to help document the project. In addition, Dr. Lindsay Porter, an
expert in cetaceans, was also brought on board to determine the effects of the
microplastics on the ocean’s wildlife. As the project began to expand, other
professionals who had already discovered plastics in different gyres throughout
the world were also included in the project. Dr. Bonnie Monteleone, was one of
these scientist, who had already conducted a substantial amount of research on
the presences of plastic in the ocean, and helped to lead the expedition to the
South Pacific Gyre. Because of the increase in the amount of information that
was discovered on plastic in the ocean, a four year voyage to study the world’s
oceans, the effects it has on wildlife health, and ultimately human health.
One impression that stood out to me was the
amount of plastic that was being consumed by marine animals, including fish and
birds. Because of the large amounts of plastic that had made its way into the
ocean and the environment worldwide, there was a significant amount of plastic
consumed by the wildlife. A number of the fish being able to be sold in some
markets in southeast Asia along the coast have been affected as microplastics
have been consumed by the fish. As a result, not only are the fish being
directly affected, but the economy of the surrounding countries is also
negatively affected as the fishing market is negatively impacted. Similarly,
birds in the region are consuming large amounts of plastic. So much so that
birds were often found along the coast, having died as a result of
complications from plastic having been digested. So much plastic was digested
that some of the birds found had digested nearly 15% of their body weight in
plastic debris, causing them not to be able to fly or digest their food.