- The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean. There are also smaller floating plastic islands in the Indian Ocean and the North Atlantic.
It is estimated that there is approximately 5.1 kilograms of plastic per square kilometer of ocean area.
Like all concentrated marine trash in our oceans, the Great Pacific garbage patch formed gradually as a result of years of pollution from all over the world, especially from the US and Japan. The currents then gather together all the plastics, sort of like how the rotational pattern of a drain works in a sink, except in this case the wind drives the surface currents toward the center.
An international research project led by Dr. Hideshige Takada of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology studying plastic pellets, or nurdles, from beaches around the world may provide further clues about the origins of pelagic plastic.
I love the word NURDLES!! maybe not so much their impact.
The bigger pieces end up in the stomachs and digestive systems of marine birds and animals.
At TEDxDelft2012, Dutch Aerospace Engineering student Boyan Slat unveiled a concept for removing large amounts of marine debris from the five oceanic gyres. With his concept called The Ocean Cleanup, he proposes a radical clean-up that would use the surface currents to let the debris drift to specially designed arms and collection platforms. According to Boyan Slat's calculations, a gyre could realistically be cleaned up in five years' time, collecting at least 7.25 million tons of plastic combining all gyres. He however does note that an ocean-based cleanup is only half the story, and will therefore have to be paired with 'radical plastic pollution prevention methods in order to succeed'.
The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California, and, according to the LA Times, scientists estimate it is about twice as large as Texas. The Western Garbage Patch is east of Japan and west of Hawaii, and each of the patches collects trash from all over the world.
- Main article: Photodegradation
- Plastic Islands Larger Than Texas Float in the Pacific
- Feature from Paula Felps on
- Documentary: Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- January 18, 2013 by Common Dreams