TIM Silverwood, the environmentalist adventurer, involved in a documentary on the Great Pacific trash vortex will visit Bellingen to encourage locals to keep waterways clean.

Silverwood from the Central Coast has returned from a research expedition to the North Pacific Gyre, aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the site where rubbish dumped into the ocean collects.

Over three weeks he sailed over 5000 kilometres from Honolulu to Vancouver with scientists, environmentalists and filmmakers on an expedition coordinated by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

What he found is the Garbage Patch or "floating island of trash", first discovered by Captain Charles Moore in 1997 is in actual fact now an ocean rubbish tip, one and half times the size of the USA.  

"A 'floating island' of trash is far from the truth. In fact it's much worse than that," Silverwood said.

"If it were a floating island of trash it would be possible for us to go and clean it up, but unfortunately it is more like a plastic soup.

"Larger plastic items like bottles, bags, buckets and crates don't retain their structure for long as the sun's rays beat down and the waves toss them around, they break apart into millions and billions of plastic fragments that then remain in the ocean. They don't biodegrade though, that's the scary part," he said. 

Greenpeace research shows that the world produces 300 billion pounds of plastic each year and about 10% ends up in the ocean, killing marine mammals, fish and corals.

Silverwood, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch adventurer, will visit the Coffs Coast on Sunday, March 25th supporting Bellingen Environmental Youth in their quest to rid the shire's waterways of plastic.

He will speak at the Bellingen Memorial Hall at 6pm. Entry is $5 per person.



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