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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an enormous collection of marine debris stretching across the North Pacific Ocean, is one of the biggest – both literally and figuratively – frightful reminders that we need to rethink every single aspect of how much waste we produce and how we deal with it. Its very existence proves that we have to do everything in our power to stop the proliferation of plastic trash. And that necessity has just become even more critical – since scientists have just confirmed that there is another huge plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. And it is bigger than Texas.
While experts have long believed that it was very much the case, the confirmation of the second patch’s existence in the South Pacific comes just now. The garbage patch may cover as much as 2.6 million square kilometers, that is 1.5 times the size of Texas. Similarly to the patch in the North Pacific, the one in the South was formed due to a mix of swirling currents and winds called a gyre which concentrates plastic waste into one area.
The patch has been uncovered by Captain Charles Moore and his team of volunteer researchers. Together, they have set off on a six-month voyage which led to the huge discovery. “We discovered tremendous quantities of plastic,” Moore told Research Gate.
The South Pacific garbage patch proved to be comprised mostly of tiny plastic pieces, smaller even than the grains of rice. Moore’s team found some larger items as well, but most of it was broken into little bits. The fact may mean that plastic in the patch has a longer journey to make before accumulating in the spot. Once the little plastic particles are in the gyre, it is pretty much impossible to clean them up – and so, the best way of dealing with the problem is, of course, preventing the issue at the very source.
It is far past time for us to start taking care of our plastic addiction and the problem of plastic waste disposal. Every year, we dump into the oceans around 8.8 million tons of plastic into the oceans, where it endangers around 700 marine species with extinction. Unless we stop being nonchalant about our unrecycled plastic waste, news like this will only become more frequent. As Moore explained, stopping this problem starts with you and me – so to learn how to limit your use of plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: myimmo/Pixabay