The Plastic Pollution Conversation: Pacific Rim Tour 2012

The Tour:

The Pacific Rim Tour 2012 is an international series of events geared toward building a worldwide network of partners committed to making a positive difference in the health of our oceans.
Our goal is to create an international awareness of plastic pollution impact, challenges, and solutions.

The chain reaction of thought set off by these events will increase our chances to heal the seas of our neglect.


2012 Tour Summary

A fundamental rethinking of the plastic age and a growing global health crisis....
These words echoed at each venue along the Tour route, igniting audiences into listening, learning and launching a chain reaction of thought in how we view the plastic age, ourselves in it and what we must do in order to preserve our oceans and the overall health of the planet.

This highly successful, well attended Tour reinforced the '"clear and present danger" that plastic marine pollution challenges us with. The world must be convinced to cease using its oceans as the final resting place for its waste and The Plastic Pollution Conversation is a voice that speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves……our ocean’s inhabitants. As a result of this Tour, the volume of this voice has been raised for more to hear and join in the Conversation about challenges and development of viable solutions.


In TOKYO, one of the venues I visited was a middle school where children are fighting plastic pollution with filling stations for reusable bottles. Another high point in this great city was at Kasumigaseki, where a high level press conference was held, both for the publishers of my book, Plastic Ocean (in Japanese) and NHK to view the “Inconvenient Truth of Waste,” “Trashed”, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons. I introduced the film with a Power Point presentation and took questions after the film and had a book signing with successful sales. As a result, I was asked to do an interview with the largest daily in Japan that everybody reads, Tokyo Shinbun. It included pictures and was a great kick off for my Pacific Rim Plastic Pollution Conversation Tour. .

The next stop was HONG KONG, the site of the largest plastic pellet spill in recorded history, which devastated local fish farmers businesses in two ways. The majority of the fish ate the pellets and were in deep distress, swimming belly up as a result of the buoyancy created by the pellets. Though the pellets were found to be toxic free, all retail outlets refused shipments of the surviving fish. Joining in a beach cleanup, I was very impressed with young people who had invented a rotating screen to scour out the pellets. It was also very disturbing to learn that shark nets have to be used to protect beach goers.

On to AUSTRALIA. Hobart, Tasmania….Revisiting the islandat the southern tip of the continent, the birthplace of the ORV Alguita, I lectured at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and Stanley Burbury Theatre at the University of Tasmania. A great discussion took place surrounding sampling plastic debris loads on MacQuarie and Heard Islands daily, rather than monthly, something they have done for years.

In Melbourne, I toured two community gardens and did a beach cleanup. The next day, my talk at the South Melbourne Commons was followed by journeying north to Jervis Bay where I presented at the Maritime Museum. In Sydney, I presented at the Toronga Zoo, had numerous interviews in the Sydney metro area and an interview with the ABC Science Show. It was interesting that the Tara Expeditions samples that were collected for Algalita revealed 50,000 pieces of plastic in Antarctic water. I was happy to be there coincidentally and have an opportunity to talk about it.

NEW ZEALAND. The southern-most stop on the Tour. The Sir Peter Blake Trust staff scheduled me at the New Zealand Maritime Museum and former Auckland Mayor Bob Harvey not only turned over his home in beautiful KareKare to me, he asked me to stand in for him at the Keep Auckland Beautiful meeting.

MAUI. Maui Ocean Center Aquarium was an interesting venue and well attended. I went on a beach cleanup on the windward side with a Maui resident who had been a crew member on the first leg of our 2012 Asia Pacific Expedition. I was appalled to see the ghost nets embedded in the sand, making them extremely difficult to remove. An in-studio taping of my presentation at Akaku Community Television will be available for viewing on our website shortly. Several other venues included The Whaler’s Museum in Ka’anapali and the NOAA/Whale Sanctuary in South Kihei.

OAHU was the last stop on the Tour at the University Laboratory School in Honolulu on October 14. It was a great pleasure to make new friends from the Sustainable Coastlines and to wind up the Tour with a get together at Wylands’ Penthouse in Waikiki.

This summary would not be complete without acknowledging the many organizations that made this Tour not only possible, but successful. While I may not have included all of them, please take a moment to become familiar with the names of folks in far reaches of the world who are connecting the dots to make a difference.

The Plastic Pollution Conversation in the NEWS:

The Green Leaf

Maui Now

The Surf Channel


ABC Radio Australia