Posted by: Katie Transue
2012 Asia Pacific Exploration Update
Western Pacific Garbage Patch and Tsunami Debris Field Research Expedition
May 1, 2012 through June 28, 2012
Greetings from the Algalita/5 Gyres/Pangaea Exploration Team!
We thought it was time to give you an update on the research expedition through the Western Pacific Garbage Patch and the Tsunami Debris Field, May 1, 2012 through June 28, 2012. Almost all of the 18 available spots have been sold! While none of us really have a clear understanding of the current content, size and distribution of the debris field from the 2011 tsunami, it is incumbent on those who have the ability and expertise to journey through and investigate it. The knowledge we gain will be invaluable to scientists; government agencies and educators across the globe. This is a time critical expedition, due to the dispersion phenomenon of debris at sea.
As we move across the North Pacific Gyre through the projected debris field, our main goals will be collecting samples and studying the effects of plastic pollution and marine debris relative to:
- providing habitat for marine life and its ability to transport invasive species from one continent to another;
- rates of decomposition of debris;
- colonization of marine life on, and into, different materials;
- educating students through the Algalita Ship 2 Shore blog; and
- spatial distribution of debris along the entire voyage transect.
We are pleased to announce the following organizations have added their endorsement to this Expedition. Each plays a key role in furthering knowledge about plastic pollution and marine debris. Each contributes to growing awareness and the necessity of preserving the vitality of our oceans and all who live in, and depend on it.
- International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. This research effort models Pacific Ocean currents and prevalent winds, including the projected flow of marine debris from the March, 2011 tsunami.
- Maui Ocean Center, Ma’alaea Harbor, Maui, Hawaii. Conducting the “Debris from the Sea” art contest for Maui County students K through 12, displaying selected artwork made of marine debris before, during and after the arrival of the expedition vessel on or about June 30,2012. Hosting a multi-cultural land and sea greet of the Sea Dragon to Maui and events including presentations from the Skipper and crew of the expedition.
- Ocean Conservancy, Washington, D.C. Nicholas Mallos, Conservation Biologist and Marine Debris Specialist with the Organization, will join this unique expedition as a working and investigative crew member, reporting on the findings to the network of Ocean Conservancy members and others.
- Pacific Whale Foundation, Ma’alaea Harbor, Maui, Hawaii. Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy. Based on Maui, PWF’s work takes place in Hawaii, Ecuador, Australia, Chile and other parts of the Pacific. One of the goals of PWF’s educational programs is to teach children and adults about the critical importance of reducing the use of plastic as a step to prevent marine plastic pollution.
- Surfrider Foundation, San Clemente, California. Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
- Surfrider Foundation, Japan. This grassroots non-profit is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment or our world’s ocean, waves and beaches.
- United Nations – Safe Planet, Geneva Switzerland. The Safe Planet Campaign aims to raise global awareness of the risks posed by hazardous chemicals and wastes to human health and the environment throughout the life-cycle of chemicals, and the solutions offered by instruments and practices of sound chemicals management, and thereby, to move the chemicals and waste agenda higher in the international arena.
Adding your endorsement, and/or participation as a sponsor, would ensure the success, not only of our Expedition through the Debris Field during May-June, but would play an integral role in the analysis of a unique array of trawl samples that heretofore have not been available for study.
Should you find interest in participating, we would welcome a call or email to discuss any type of involvement or donation opportunity you might find of interest. 562-598-4889. firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2012 Asia Pacific Exploration Team