New research suggests that 90% of seabirds have plastic in their guts as a result of material dumped at sea. The news highlights the problem of garbage patches – mostly plastic particles gathered by currents – that have formed in our oceans, harming marine life.

NASA, the US space agency, has just released a new video that takes data from scientific buoys distributed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the oceans over the last 35 years to show how these garbage patches are formed.

The same currents that help to form the garbage patches might also be used to help clear them up, according to  Dutch entrepreneur and inventor Boyan Slat who hopes to start work on clearing up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the middle of next year.

Video source: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Author: José Santiago, Senior Associate, Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum.

Image: A volunteer collects waste material floating on the water during a coastal clean-up drive in Manila Bay REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo