Project Kasei on KHUM Sunday 11am

Mike Dronkers / Saturday, July 7, 2012 @ 7:46 a.m. / Ocean

If you eat fish from the Pacific Ocean, odds are good that you are literally eating garbage.

It's hard to believe, but there is an enormous junkyard floating about 1,000 miles west of us. Known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, a Texas-sized flotilla of debris is stuck in a vortex of current. Much of the garbage is naturally shredded, making it difficult to collect and easy for fish to eat.

A recent study found that nearly one in ten small fish have plastic in their system. That debris works its way up the food chain until it gets to us. 

This Sunday in the 11 o'clock hour DJ Lyndsey Battle will speak with Mary Crowley, executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute and founder of Project Kaisei, a Bay Area-based organization focused on harvesting plastics from our oceans.

"Every year, over 300 million tons of plastic are produced, much of it for one-time, disposable use, and roughly 90% never makes it to be recycled... In many cases, plastic waste that is not incinerated or land-filled makes its way to the oceans, and the UN estimates that at least 80% of the waste in the sea comes from land-based sources."

This year's voyage, which departed last week, will also focus on surveying tsunami debris along the way to the North Pacific Gyre.  What to do with all this trash? Some say fuel. 

"We are all to blame for the pollution that makes its way to the ocean, and we are all responsible, therefore, to come up with ways to clean and protect it. Project Kaisei is focused on the issue of marine debris, much of which is plastic, and is building a global collaboration of expertise to help develop new solutions, policies and practices which can both help with cleanup and land-based prevention."