Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Solving the Mystery

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is finally getting some attention from the scientific community. We talked about the island of trash in a previous post, outlining its massive size (twice the size of Texas by some estimates) and its unknown origins.

Today, researchers will embark on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the giant convergence of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. So far, scientists believe the mass is made up of plastic, small and large pieces, coming from storm drains and rivers from places like the San Francisco Bay Area and Japan, which, eventually drifts into several large ocean currents that cause the debris to swirl like water in a drain and collect, strangely, in one area about 1000 miles west of California.

"This is a problem that is kind of out of sight, out of mind, but it is having devastating impacts on the ocean. I felt we needed to do something about it," said Mary Crowley, the founder of Project Kaisei, a nonprofit expedition that is partnering on the voyage with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

Scientists will try to discover the origins of the mess, it's accurate size, how fast it's accumulating, and the impact it's having on ocean life. We'll keep you posted on the results from the month-long study.


Posted by cosmomac on March 8,2010 at 10:25 PM

I remembering reading of this years ago -- maybe decades ago and have not seen mention of it since.

The mind boggles.  Twice the size of Texas?  

I'm glad I found this website.  Putting it in my favorites and telling others.

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