Did you find the island? The Great Pacific Garbage patch...

One of the things that people have asked a lot since I got back from the expedition is “did you reach the island?” Or “what was the island like?”. That’s what many of us think the great Pacific garbage patch is - three times the size of France, the densest accumulation of oceans plastic in the world - but it’s not. Rather than a solid mass, it’s a much more alarming accumulation of some larger pieces of plastic but also trillions of pieces of microplastics, broken down from our plastic waste. These microplastics are potentially more dangerous because they are omnipresent in the gyre. We averaged half a million pieces / km2 just on the ocean’s surface. We weren’t counting what was in the 5000 metres of the water below us. Why are microplastics a problem? There’s is so much more research to do but what we do know is that they are getting into our food chain through the seafood we eat and they attract or are mixed with harmful chemicals during production. These are chemicals, like flame retardants, that are brilliantly practical but harmful. As an all-women crew, we were interested in the effects on women in particular. These chemicals and toxics impact humans (and marine life) by disrupting hormones, causing fertility problems, contributing to female cancers and more. A frightening fact is that the only way women can expel these toxics from their bodies is through childbirth, by passing them onto their babies. Using plastic seems so far from our health because it’s so normal, so hard to avoid, but we are all part of a natural system and we can’t get away from pollution. Let’s stop adding to it when we can. It’s not easy but little steps, little actions = collectively big results. Less single use plastic. Write, write, write to companies, politicians, local councils, anyone who has a say to tell them you want to see change in how we use plastic. #greatpacificgarbagepatch #pacific#plastic #ocean #marineplastics#plasticfree #science #womeninscience#women #health #microplastics#discovery @kristiiinemarie#singleuseplastic #noexcuseforsingleuse#turnthetideonplastic #cleanseas#plasticpollution @terracycleuk @terracycle@exxpedition_

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