Monstrous Morass

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Out of Control




Shane Gross/Shutterstock.com

In the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, the 80,000-ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing. Encompassing 600,000 square miles, the world’s largest such dump is twice the size of Texas, according to a three-year mapping effort by eight organizations. “To solve a problem, we need to understand it first,” says Boyan Slat, CEO of Dutch-based nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup.

“The bad part is that there is more [there] than what we thought. The good part is that most of the plastic is still large objects. Just 8 percent of the plastic is micro plastic. It’s not too late to do something about it.” Fishing gear comprises an estimated half of the debris. The Ocean Cleanup intends to capture, concentrate and ship the materials from the patch back to land.


This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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