SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Efforts have begun to minimize a garbage patch floating in the Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas.

Although theoretically predicted back in 1988 based on ocean currents, the patch was not visually confirmed until 1997. Charles Moore, a racing sailor and oceanographer, traveled through the center of the North Pacific gyre, which is one of the five major ocean circular currents. The water in the gyre circulates clockwise in a slow spiral, between California and Hawaii.

While sailing through, he found not only spreads of large pieces like plastic bags and polystyrene, but also innumerable small plastic chips. Worn down pieces of larger debris, these chips absorb toxins in the water until marine life eat them. Those animals are eaten by larger predators, and so on and so forth, and the pollutants move up the food chain. The damage caused to marine life is catastrophic, affecting up to 267 different species.


It is believed that 80% of the garbage comes from land, and 20% from ships at sea. Scientists have discovered that currents carry garbage from the west coast of North America to the gyre in about five years, and debris from the east coast of Asia in a year or less. Check out this animation of how the plastic gets there.

So how does one collect the garbage without accidentally trapping wildlife? Two ships from Project Kaisei (Japanese for Planet Ocean) will sail to the patch in June. They will use specialized nets that will catch 40 tons of larger pieces of plastic to recycle while minimizing any damage to marinelife. They will also use robotic exploring devices to map how wide – and how deep – the garbage patch actually goes.

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  1. hey maybe global warming will melt the plastic into one big piece that the jolly green giant can pick up and he hold in front or Carrie Prejean to block out her breastises from the camera or maybe he can smack Perez Hilton upside the head with it.

    • Where did this island thing come from? The only reason they use Texas is to describe the SURFACE AREA of the garbage patch; NOT to say it is an island.

      Actually, this article (the one by WWN) contains no references to islands. And the skeptic isn't disputing that something like this doesn't exist. In fact, his article (the one by the skeptic) works completly with the information here.

      I honestly don't know where the idea of a ISLAND came from. The patch is only 98.43 feet (30 meters) deep, for crying out loud!

      Nowhere in the article does he say that this is false. In fact, at the end, he says this is true.

  2. Goddamn garbage HAS to go somewhere!! Who's to say this is all bad?? Maybe it's keeping the stuff from spreading everywhere and polluting even MORE wildlife! I like it. When it DOES get big enough, we can send some people to live on it like pioneers. They can build bottle-hotels and sell space to eco-tourists!

    • HELLO its getting into the small fish and from the small fish into the big fish and who eats the fish WE do…So were basicly eating are own garbage.
      I live on Oahu and dont like the thought of that Garbage go onto our island and also killing are fish and turles…. Of CORSE its bad we need to stop it before it becomes a really big problme…and then the ppls tax money is going to be waisted on trying to fix it in stead of going to more inportant things…which is some thing we could prevent and we should prevent it

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