From Publishers Weekly
In 1997, Moore, captain of the oceanographic research vessel Alguita, discovered what became known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive "plastic soup... lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with 'dumplings': buoys, net clumps, floats, crates and other 'macro debris'" floating between Hawaii and California. This now-famous discovery led Moore, already a long-time environmentalist, to become a scientist-activist focusing on what others concerned with oceanic plastic proliferation had ignored: the "plastic confetti" created by ultraviolet light and ocean chemicals granulating the hundreds of millions of tons of plastic waste that have washed, blown, or been dumped into the ocean. In this sobering, impassioned book, Moore chronicles his attempts to mitigate the insidious effects of these bits, which are ingested by ocean creatures and can work their way up the food chain to poison humans. Moore, the grandson of a president of Hancock Oil, is also able to guide the reader through a history of plastic, the chemical process of plastics production, and its indestructibility and threat to our world. He covers some of the same ground as Susan Freinkel’s Plastic, but his scientific background takes his investigation deeper. (Nov.)
From Kirkus Reviews
Capt. Moore, a lifelong seafarer, was spurred to activism when his catamaran stalled in a remote area of the northeast Pacific and he noticed a visible proliferation of plastic bits and other trash floating on the water's surface. Dubbed "The Great North Pacific Garbage Patch," it was an ominous indicator of the cavalier way in which humans dispose of tons of plastic trash. This initial discovery led the author on a decades-long investigation into plastic production, distribution and chemical makeup, which revealed a level of pollution--in the sea and otherwise--far more insidious than people realized. The rise of "disposable" products coupled with inexpensive mass-production processes resulted in an unprecedented number of plastic bottles, lighters, shopping bags, diapers and other detritus being thrown away each year. Too much of it winds up in the ocean, where cool salt water drastically slows down decomposition rates. Growing numbers of vulnerable animals are ingesting these materials, and often suffering malnutrition, unhealthy offspring and death. Evidence suggests that the entire food chain may be affected, since millions of micro-plastic bits are consumed by tiny sea creatures, which are eaten by bigger fish or birds, and so on. This "toxic Trojan horse" effect extends to air and land, as well, since plastics pervade so much of our lives and often leave toxic traces behind. The author is an impassioned, fiercely inquisitive writer, detailing the many unorthodox ways he's managed to get these issues into the news and in peer-reviewed science journals. His account is chilling, but with an underlying message of optimism: If human behaviors change, we can still save the oceans, and ourselves. Fast-paced and electrifying, Moore's story is "gonzo science" at its best.