More than 80 per cent of plastic waste in the ocean is coming from land-based sources. Our fascinating Ocean Plastics exhibit spans over three galleries in the Aquarium, highlights the plastic problem, what we're doing to help, and what you as an individual can do to help. Learn, engage, be inspired to change.
Plastic litter breaks up into tiny pieces instead of decomposing in the ocean. They accumulate over time, forming five, soupy “garbage patches.” The circular movement of Earth’s major currents called gyres, trap them in the center of world’s oceans.
Half of all the plastic items made today are designed to be disposable — thrown out after one use. Litter knows no borders. Wind, wave and currents move it. Pieces from British Columbia’s coast take about six years to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, while those from Japan take about a year.
Our researchers discover tiny bits of plastics wherever they look. We sampled the waters off British Columbia from the Strait of Georgia to the west coast of Vancouver Island to the open waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The tiny plastics (microplastics) they found were fragments and a whole lot of fibres.