• Carlo Broderick

The Secret Life of Plastics

An ocean gyre is a bit like a whirlpool, rotating with the wind and tides both at the surface and below. They’re massive current systems, essentially, and there are five major ocean gyres worldwide. And now they include plastic — lots of it.

Gyre is a word increasingly ascribed to growing concentrations of plastic debris amassing in and moving through our oceans. Photos of such accumulations are shocking in and of themselves — and that’s just the stuff you can see. Microplastics and microfibers, not visible to the naked eye, can be just as damaging to ocean ecosystems and species.

Multidisciplinary experts from academia, industry, government and nonprofit agencies will convene to discuss these and other imperatives related to plastics in a special conference at UC Santa Barbara. “The Secret Lives of Plastic: Materials, Recycling, Oceans and Communication” will be held Tuesday, April 30, from 2 to 9 p.m., in the campus’s Corwin Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public.