The Swim
S1 E12

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Not What You Think It Is

It's not an island twice the size of Texas. But it is severely impacting marine ecosystems and human health... and incredibly difficult to study.

Some estimates hold that by 2050, when measured by weight, there could be as much plastic as there are fish in the ocean. But what is all this junk, exactly? Where does it come from? And is it really concentrated in a giant ‘garbage patch’ somewhere out there?

Plastic accumulates in the center of gyres, large circular currents that thread through the world’s oceans. But answering even basic questions about where marine debris travels and where it comes from has proven to be surprisingly challenging. Despite the dramatic amount of plastic the crew of Seeker has encountered, some estimates hold that 99% of ocean-bound plastic waste is still unaccounted for––that's where The Swim comes in.