I first learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us. Today, I ran across the TED by Charles Moore, the captain who “in 1997 steered his aluminum-hulled catamaran into a Texas-sized part of the western Pacific […] filled with cups, bottle caps, tangles of fish netting and monofilament line, bits of polystyrene packaging, six-pack rings, spent balloons, filmy scraps of sandwich wrap, and limp plastic bags that defied counting.” (The World Without Us.)
For a problem description with some facts and consequences for ocean’s flora and fauna, you may want to consider one of the YouTube videos about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (The reporter asks, “Small fish are eating the plastic. So is it entering our food chain?” Uhm, I don’t know.)
I think, this is important information everyone should know.