At first I thought it was a jelly fish, then, as I swam closer, I realized it was a plastic bag.
(Photo: Greg Stone)
It is disappointing to see the amount of floating plastic here, such a remote part of the world's oceans. We have plastic bags floating all around us at times during dives. This results from ocean dumping of trash. Plastic is not necessarily a bad substance—there are a lot of good uses for plastics: chairs, appliances, car fenders, and (my personal favorites) dive gear and submarine pressure spheres, but single use plastic is a problem. That is the plastic that is used in the form of a bag, bottle or other item that is used once and then discarded.
Another example of plastics photographed at the Spoon seamount (Photo: Greg Stone)
Plastic lasts for thousands of years, unless it is recycled or reused. Every piece of plastic that has ever been made (since its 1909 invention) still exists either in the atmosphere, ocean or on land—most is in the ocean. Large concentrations of plastic in the ocean, like in the central pacific gyre [more info on that here], are catching the attention of the public now and raising this issue to a higher level. Please reuse, recycle and reduce the amount of plastic in your life; by doing that you will help ocean conservation. For more information, I recommend you visit the Plastic Pollution Coalition website.