The plastic that is thrown out a window today, finds it way to the creek and then the river and, finally, the ocean.
Mussels have microscopic bits of plastic in their blood. Seabirds starve to death because their bellies are full of trash instead of fish. Seals are pooping out bits of colored plastic. Hermit Crabs live in plastic bottle caps rather than shells. Birds are building nests out of drinking straws, ear swabs and plastic twine. (Message in a Bottle, May/June 2009, Sierra Magazine).
The Garbage Patch (western Pacific gyre) is now estimated to be 2-3 the size of Texas, with some estimates as high as 5 million square miles. That is 1-1/2 the size of the continental USA! The Garbage Patch has been encountered 500 miles of California and 200 miles off the coast of Japan. There is now evidence of an eastern Pacific gyre.
The answer: cut off plastic at the source. Manufacturers and distributors of these plastic parts will have to become responsible. We may see the end of Styrofoam containers in restaurants, plastic lids and straws may disappear from McDonald's, and runoff laws may tighten for cities.
Whether it will enough and timely is another question entirely. What can you do? Stop using plastic. Buy ceramic coffee mugs and steel liquid containers and keep at home, in your car, and at work. Do not reuse plastic bottles as BPAs may be released into the drink. Shop for alternatives to plastic storage containers, especially when used for storing food or drink for children.