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The monstrous garbage patch consists of 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and weighs roughly 88,000 tons. Scientists fear that if they can’t clear the patch in time, plastic will be too small to collect and harm marine life. In a new study published Thursday, the drifting island of waste has been found to have grown to more than 600,000 square miles. Want a visual? That’s twice the size of Texas.
There’s a common saying that “Everything’s Bigger in Texas!”, but hardly anyone ever mentions the size of the Lone Star State in relation to other massive objects. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a colossal hunk of floating trash found near the midpoint between California and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. It is now twice the size of Texas and it continues to get bigger.
An early 1990s discovery, the cluster’s trash is an accumulation from countries around the Pacific Rim, including North and South America. Winds and intersection ocean currents drive all that trash into one location.
The monstrous patch consists of 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and weighs a whopping 88,000 tons. Again, a visual? That’s equal to 500 jumbo jets. These new numbers are up to 16 times higher than what previous estimates anticipated, and it’s rapidly getting worse.
In addition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, there are four other known trash collections adrift in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of the five. The patches are in international waters, meaning no governments are held responsible for stepping in to clean up the islands of waste.
And the longer they wait, the more of an enemy time becomes. Joost Dubois, a spokesman with OCF, said there’s a sense of urgency with these cleanups. The faster they can be conducted, the larger the parcels of trash are. As time goes on, the garbage will begin to break down into tiny pieces.
How long plastic may remain in the ocean is a big unknown, but unless we begin to remove it, some would say it may remain there forever.