The 5 Gyres Project: Update From the Sargasso Sea

My friends Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins have sent an update from what they have found in the Sargasso Sea. I reported earlier on the two who, along with their shipmates, are taking part in the 5 Gyres project, an attempt to determine how much plastic is floating in the worlds oceans and where it is coming from.

Having just landed in Bermuda, after starting in St. Thomas and crossing the Sargasso, they report having found plastic debris in every trawl that they pulled in on their journey.

The amount of plastic the researchers found is nowhere near the amount they found in the North Pacific Gyre. “But it was still remarkable to find plastic in every single sample,” Cummins said. The accumulation was worse in windrows, surface rivers created by currents populated with a dense, seaweed-like plant called Sargassum that traps the plastic.

“In the Sargassum, we found bottle caps, shot gun shells, and boots,” Cummins said. “I’ve never seen anything like the plastic on the beaches here. They’re just covered with plastic. It’s much worse than the beaches in California.” After studying current trends, the team believes the detritus was carried by the Gulf Stream and started its life as plastic discarded by people in the East Coast.

Cummins and Eriksen will meet with officials in Bermuda, including U.S. Consul General Grace Shelton, and then head back across the Sargasso to the Azores to study a different part of the ocean. You can follow their adventures on the 5 Gyres blog.




Chelsey Atkinson
Chelsey A.3 years ago

Thank you, it's people like this we need more in the world. Here in Canada lots of the Sargassum washes up on the shores of Nova Scotia. There are lots of things like garbage caught in it. One time I found a dead fish in a plastic bag on one of the many beaches.

Michael T.
Michael T.4 years ago

While we all may be able to pool together collectively to reduce the amount that adds to this, and it will take a lot more than a couple of articles on Care2 to get people to really become aware and actively participate, what is going to be done about the mass now floating out there?

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec5 years ago

Yes, let's clean up the sea of plastics. Plastics can cause death to marine life. Wishing you success on the Gyres Project.

Zee Kallah
.5 years ago

thank you

Zee Kallah
.5 years ago

thank you

Kurt Valentine

Please sign this petition to support Marine Health Implementations

Kurt Valentine

Please sign this petition to support Marine Health Implementations

Michael Cozens
Michael Cozens6 years ago

Very concerning - thanks for the link.

Jessica England
Jessica England6 years ago

Kay O. has got the right idea. We can all do our part by purchasing less one-time-use products, recycling the ones we do buy and/or see, picking up trash in the streets before it hits the beaches, and setting a good example for others to follow.