Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,181 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Kris Jenner Tries to Embarrass Daughters Kourtney and Kim Kardashian with a Throwback Pic of Their Model Poses
- Read the Cover Story – Tess Holliday: The World's First Size 22 Supermodel!
- RHONJ Star Amber Marchese's Breast Cancer Has Not Spread: 'I Am Very Blessed'
- Beyoncé Reminds Us Who Calls the Shots with New 'Queen Bee' Sweatshirt
- Look Back: The Ups & Downs of the Duggar Family
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 07, 2009
- Vol. 72
- No. 10
What a Dump!
A Giant Vortex of Trash Is Poisoning the Pacific. Now at Sea, One Woman Says It's Time to Clean It Up
Though the flotsam is disgusting, it confirms that Crowley and her team of six scientists are in the right place. The Kaisei is on a monthlong voyage to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. "Some people call this the eighth continent," says Crowley of the millions of tons of trash—bags, toys, bottles—spanning an area estimated at twice the size of Texas and caught in a massive clockwise current between the U.S. and Japan. This watery dump (not the only one on Earth, but the largest) has vexed environmentalists since gaining widespread attention a decade ago. Because the area is vast, remote and moving, it has been almost impossible to map, much less eliminate. "We knew there was plastic out there," says Holly Bamford, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine debris program. But until recently, "we didn't know the concentrations. The numbers have increased, and it is causing some concern."
Some scientists have long believed that cleaning up the Pacific Patch is unfeasible. But Crowley, 63, a Sausalito-based charter-yacht broker who is volunteering her time to Project Kaisei, is determined. Her expedition has received the endorsement of the United Nations, while private and institutional donors footed the $300,000 cost. Ship-side and in dinghies, her team is attempting to gauge the quantity of trash and is testing various collection devices.
Crowley isn't the only one who feels cleanup is important. In the fall, eco-adventurer and TV host David de Rothschild will explore the region in a recycled plastic boat. While some of the garbage—the bulk of it litter from beaches and rivers—washes up on Hawaii and other islands, the majority stays in the water, poisoning marine life, which mistake the smallest bits for plankton. Biologists on board are checking tissue samples to understand the effects.
Not yet near the densest part of the Patch, the Kaisei team spots 400 pieces in the ocean during a one-minute count. What can become of it all? "We're hearing from scientists about turning plastic into fuel," says Crowley. "We've over-garbaged the ocean. But I'm optimistic we can change."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!