The role of plastic particles in transferring toxins to seafood is currently not known.
Reilly: Jeez, that's an uplifting picture.
Miriam Goldstein: It is really sad. But the good news is that by eating less of these top predators and by advocating for sustainable fisheries, we can help both ourselves and the ocean.
So it's way more environmental bang for the buck!
Reilly: So, to be blunt about it, why care about the plastic story? It's sure gross to look at, but unless it's a major player in the toxics question, shouldn't we focus on cleaning up PCBs, mercury, and other pollutants directly?
Miriam Goldstein: Well, to answer your second question first, there's no way that I'm aware of to clean up those other pollutants directly. PCBs have been banned for around 30 years in the US and they're still around. But we can definitely cut down on the mercury by advocating for clean energy.
But to get back to the plastic, I think we should care because most of Earth is the ocean, and most of the ocean is in these vast subtropical gyres (there are actually 5, of which the North Pacific is one).