An interview with Captain Charles Moore the discoverer and prime researcher of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.
Host: Nathan Callahan and Mike Kaspar
In 1995 Captain Moore launched his purpose designed, aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania, and organized the Australian Government's first "Coastcare" research voyage to document anthropogenic contamination of Australia's east coast. Upon his return to California, he became a coordinator of the State Water Resources Control Board's Volunteer Water Monitoring Steering Committee, and developed chemical and bacterial monitoring methods for the Surfrider Foundation's "Blue Water Task Force." As a member of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project's Bight '98 steering committee, he realized the need for and provided a research vessel so that Mexican researchers from Baja California could participate for the first time in assessing the entire Southern California Bight.
The Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita and its Captain found their true calling after a 1997 yacht race to Hawaii. On his return voyage, Captain Moore veered from the usual sea route and saw an ocean he had never known, "there were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic." Ever since, Captain Moore has dedicated his time and resources to understanding and remediating the ocean's plastic load. In this February 26 presentation for TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), Captain Moore demonstrates why it is imperative that plastic ends its life in a recycling plant, rather than in our waterways and oceans.
Captain Moore’s 1999 study shocked the scientific world when it found 6 times more plastic fragments by weight in the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. His second paper found that plastic outweighs plankton by a factor of 2.5 in the surface waters of Southern California.
Captain Moore has now done ocean and coastal sampling for plastic fragments over twenty thousand miles of the north Pacific ocean, across 22 degrees of latitude and 50 degrees of longitude. His latest 7,500 mile voyage was featured in the November 4, 2008 issue of US News and World Report.
To Listen to the Interview