Jon T. Howard North Atlantic Gyre Blog #27

I headed to the airport before the crack of dawn on Thursday January 21st. After making my way through customs, I departed Bermuda in route to Miami just as the sun was rising to begin a long day of travel back to Los Angeles. As the American Airlines plane lifted into the new day I could see the Sea Dragon docked in the bay and I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heading home. It was a great trip of scientific discovery, new friendships and truly an experience of a lifetime. I realized during my flight as I started to wade through some of the photos and video I had shot that my work was just beginning. In all I shot about 10 hours of video that I will need to edit and at least 2000 photos that I plan to use for exposure in the press and media to bring more awareness to the situation. I am also planning on making some educational videos and a power point presentation to use at schools. I feel honored that EcoUsable believed it was important for me to be apart of this exploration voyage so I could be a first hand witness to damage the plastic pollution is having in the North Atlantic Gyre. After 9 hours of flying, I was greeted by the heaviest rain Los Angeles has had in years. As I shot pictures during our final approach into LAX of the swollen LA River and storm drains flowing to the Pacific Ocean I couldn't help but be deeply sad. All the bottle caps, milk jug rings, lighters, deodarant balls and the shot gun shell I had seen over the last 2 weeks in the Atlantic Gyre all begins on land somewhere. It gets washed out to sea and since plastic was made to last forever it floats on an endless journey around the world slowly breaking down. Along the way it becomes a million times more absorbent and leaches with things like pesticides, mercury and the toxic chemicals we've recklessly dumped in the ocean. Eventually it breaks down small enough to become food for the fish, turtles and birds which unfortunately then comes back to haunt us as part of our food chain. If I learned anything on this amazing trip it's that we must break the chain of plastic... NOW!

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