Every stray bit of trash that enters the ocean, from a frayed fishing net off the coast of the Philippines to a plastic bottle cap from an Oakland storm drain, all end up circulating in rotating ocean currents called gyres.
For this reason, the Pacific Gyre is now better known by another name: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The real situation is less visually dramatic, but it's what we can't see – microplastic – that's the biggest problem.
Most of the world's countries have ocean coastlines, and with so many jurisdictions and varying degrees of environmental scrutiny, truly curbing the flow of plastic isn't realistic in the near term.
The Ocean Cleanup is best positioned to make a real impact, though executing on their vision will require vast resources and substantial funding.