In case you’ve never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a link to an article on The Guardian’s site appears below.
The answer is to reduce our use of plastic. Recycling can go only so far.
When shopping for hygiene items, be suspicious of the word microbead. Microbeads are usually tiny pieces of plastic that create the desired abrasiveness in skin cleansers. They go down the basin or shower drain when you rinse your skin, and they don’t get weeded out in the system. Those microbeads end up anywhere, including the ocean. They’re among the microplastics that aren’t likely to be removed during efforts to rid the ocean of rubbish.
There are basic things we can do to reduce consumption of plastics. Use our own bags at the store. Drink more tap water (we can buy filters to make the water cleaner, and in the long run those filters will burden the environment less than plastic bottles because they aren’t being discarded nearly as often). Think before buying that little gadget we don’t really need. Read up on microbeads so we don’t unknowingly contribute to the plastic chowder in the ocean.
Now, if you have the courage to read it, here’s Oliver Milman’s article in The Guardian.