Many of those affected by the enormous garbage swirl—like sea birds, turtles and beluga whales—can't speak for themselves. "They get caught in these nets, or they swallow some of these bottle caps," Fabien says. "Killer whales, which are kind of our mirror, our canary in the coal mine, so to speak, are ingesting all sorts of things that are affecting their health."
Experts say plastic trash has already killed millions of sea birds and marine mammals. In one case, pieces of plastic and a cigarette lighter were found in the stomach of a dead albatross.
Beluga whales are also suffering. Fabien says some of these marine mammals have been diagnosed with breast cancer, which may be caused by the chemicals they're ingesting.