Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Located in the North Pacific Ocean, this giant pile of garbage is also known as Pacific Trash Vortex. The exact dimensions of this garbage patch are unknown but some scientists estimate that the patch is larger than the state of Texas.

The patch consists in plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The North Pacific Gyre is a circular current rotating clockwise between Kuroshio Current, California Current and North Equatorial Current.

The creation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was predicted in 1988 but was first spotted in 1997 by Charles J. Moore, which was returning from a sailing competition.

A marine study made by Southern California Water Research found  over 330,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer with a weight of more than 5 kilograms per square kilometer. Based on this study is estimated that the Gyre could contain more than 225 million pounds or 113,000 tons of plastic waste. This large quantity represents less than 0.5% of the 30 million tons of plastic solid waste collected in the whole United States in 2009.

The Garbage Patch was formed gradually, in time, because of the marine pollution gathered by the oceanic currents. This means that the garbage contained in this huge Gyre comes from all parts of the globe. Although there aren’t any physical proofs, scientist estimate that about 80% of the trash comes from land-based sources and the rest of 20% comes from ships that navigate on the Oceans.

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