Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Next Time They Hand You a Plastic Bag

Independent (uk): A scavenger in a dugout canoe paddles through a sea of garbage along a Manila waterway

Think of the plastic soup, the huge floating plastic garbagebergs in the Pacific Ocean that are twice the size of the United States.

Independent (uk): The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan

A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex", believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years and compares the trash vortex to a living entity: "It moves around like a big animal without a leash." When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. "The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic," he added.

Independent (uk): Steve Connor: Why plastic is the scourge of sea life

Daily Mail (uk): Rubbish dump found floating in Pacific Ocean is twice the size of America

Daily News & Analysis (India): Pacific Ocean could turn into a 'Plastic Ocean'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The size of the plastic garbage "continent" is about twice the size of Texas according t the following article: