A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Looking for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted on MyOcean.eu - May 17, 2013
 
From May 20th onwards,the EXPEDITION "7th CONTINENT" will use MyOcean Daily Forecasts for identifying convergence areas of plastics.
The European Union aims to be at the forefront of efforts to reduce marine litter which is a serious threat to the coastal and marine environment around the globe.

Little is known however on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Marine habitats are contaminated with man-made garbage and other waste, posing growing environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems. Marine litter is a composed of up to 80 % of plastic, and originates from a diverse range of sources. Plastics tend to persist in the marine environment, possibly for hundreds of years.

It is therefore no surprise that MyOcean supports the Expedition to the “7th continent”, this huge ‘soup’ of plastic waste located in the North Pacific’s great subtropical gyre, commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, discovered by Captain Charles Moore in 1995.

The Team
The Expedition crew (from the right to the left) : Claire Pusineri, marine biologist ,Les Georges, the boat captain,Soizic Lardeux, photograph and video maker and Patrick Deixonne, the Expedition leader.© OSL

What is the Expedition Goal ?
Bring back an eyewitness account to raise awareness of the general public of this new ecological disaster that is directly caused by human behaviour.

How useful are MyOcean services ?
The crew will daily receive forecasts of currents (surface and -30m) and of Sea Surface Height based on the MyOcean product introduced in the latest catalogue release on April 23rd : Global Ocean Physics Analysis and Forecast updated Daily 

This information is key for optimizing the routing and for identifying plastics convergence areas.

Who is leading the Expedition?
The expedition is organized by the French Guyana association OSL (Ocean Scientific Logistic) which aims at promoting and raising awareness about marine environment through scientific studies and expeditions. Patrick Deixonne, OSL founder, navigator and member of the Société des Explorateurs (French Explorers Society), is leading the first French expedition to the “7th continent. He is accompanied by Claire Pusineri, marine biologist and Soizic Lardeux, photographer and film editor.

When Does it starts from which location?
The expedition will set out to sea from Ocean Side, California on 20th May for a one-month trip of around two thousand nautical miles on a 35-foot boat , a super Swan.
Location in North Pacific :  32°36'000’’N / 140 °34'000”W

The Educational component of the Expedition
The French Space Agency CNES is a major partner of the expedition in the frame of the educational project ARGONAUTICA (the French Space Agency Educational project ) for classes which will follow many aspects of the expedition, such as a buoy’s itinerary via a website  equipped with ‘plastic’ sensor capable of differentiating plastic micro-waste from plankton and then determining concentrations of the former in a given area. They will also be able to access the expedition’s log book, display maps showing sea-surface height and currents ( MyOcean product) which will help the crew navigate towards the gyre's centre...

The Scientific component of the Expedition ?
To quantify and characterise plankton, micro-plastics and pollutants , macro waste encountered on the journey, the crew has on board a few devices able to collect data or samples
  • 3 drifter buoys (Oceansites) to be cast overboard in the gyre area.
  • Gyroplastic buoy’s instruments will determine the environmental parameters (temperature, luminosity, salinity, presence of phytoplankton and plastic) of the top 30 metres of the water column. The buoy will be cast overboard for about an hour per day and the data collected will be transmitted directly to CNES via the Argos system.
  • Crew members will characterise any floating macro waste encountered during the expedition (size, type, number, location). These observations will be illustrated with photos and videos made both on the surface and underwater.Samples of micro-plastics and plankton on the surface will be collected using a small size ‘Manta’ plankton net (50 x 20 cm opening and 300-micron mesh) cast into the sea for about an hour every day. The samples will be analysed at a French Laboratory (IMRCP) and by some of the classes participating in the programme.
  • Use of new easy-to-use pollutant sensors (developped by the French Laboratory IMRCP)  which are able to fix large quantities of organic pollutants (hydrocarbons, bisphenol A, phthalates etc.). These sensors will be cast into the ocean at three points along the journey in sectors with low, medium and high pollution levels respectively. The pollutants concentrated in the sensors will be analysed by IMRCP laboratories on our return.A fishing line will be trained. On capturing a fish, the crew will use IMRCP laboratory sensors to concentrate any pollutants found in fish flesh. The pollutants will be analysed by IMRCP laboratories on our return.
  • At sunrise and sunset, when animals are most active, the on-board biologist will be observing the scene. She will record and characterise (species, number, behaviour, location) all large marine animal observations (birds, marine mammals, sharks, turtles).

To be followed on MyOcean Website...
For any question, contact = contact-com@myocean.eu.org
Expedition Web site: www.septiemecontinent.com

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