Pacific Garbage Patch researcher speaks at University of Puget Sound March 3

Charles Moore, author of “Plastic Ocean” and founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation, will be speaking Tuesday in Tacoma about plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean Tuesday.

Moore was among the first to bring the concerns about marine plastic debris to a wider audience. His most recent research trip was a month spent in the North Pacific Gyre, dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

“The 2014 voyage was my 10th and longest research voyage aboard the oceanographic research vessel Alguita,” Moore said in a news release. “We discovered an island of plastic that I was able to actually walk on. Some of the original research that we did involved the taking of blood from various fish species to help determine the effects of living in a platicized habitat.”

Moore’s presentation will look at other experiments done on the voyage, plastic and plankton sampling and the use of drones to document the extent of the open-ocean plastic problem.

Moore founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in 1994. A year later, the native of Long Beach, California, launched the research vessel Alguita in Hobart, Tasmania. He also helped to organize a research voyage to document contamination of Australia’s east coast.

It was in 1997, while returning to Southern California after a yacht race from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Moore veered from the usual sea route and discovered the extent of the plastic pollution.

“Every time I came on deck to survey the horizon, I saw a soap bottle, bottle cap or a shard of plastic waste bobbing by. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic,” Moore said in the release.

For the past 20 years, Moore has worked to raise awareness about the issue and continues to work toward a future without marine plastic.

The program will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Rotunda at the University of Puget Sound.

The presentation is free and is hosted by the Sierra Club, University of Puget Sound, the Surfrider Foundation, Sound Policy Institute and Tahoma Audubon Society.