In the summer of 1997, Captain Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast "oceanic desert" where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a "plastic soup." He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet--a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean’s food base, by a factor of six to one.
His ominous findings were recorded in papers on oceanic plastic particulate pollution, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, and in a review article entitled "Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long term threat," published in Environmental Research. His revelation of the secret life and hidden properties of plastics shocked the scientific community and contributed to his reputation as a world-renowned investigator in ocean studies.
From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers. It was Captain Moore’s investigation of secretions by plastic processors that resulted in the passage of a “Nurdle Bill” to prohibit the discharge of pre-production plastic pellets in the state of California.
Since launching his aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania in 1995, Captain Moore has logged over 100,000 miles of research voyages aboard. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, The Colbert Report, and the National Geographic special Strange Days on Planet Earth. He lives in Long Beach, California.