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7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific

North Pacific Subtropical Convergence ZoneCapt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

While competing in the Transpac 1997 veteran seafarer Charles Moore came across what some have since deemed the world’s largest “landfill” — actually a huge water-bound swath of floating plastic garbage the size of two Texases. Trapped in an enormous slow whirlpool called the Pacific Gyre , a mostly stagnant, plankton-rich seascape spun of massive competing air currents, this Great Pacific Garbage Patch in some places outweighs even the surface waters’ biomass six-to-one.

Ninety percent of all rubbish floating in the world’s oceans is plastic. In 2006, UN environment programs estimated that every square mile of ocean contained at least 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Floating in the surface layer are plastic products, tons of drift nets, plastic bags, packing straps, and common household items like soap, television tubes, automobile tires and deodorant bottles. One suspected spill of plastic bags was measured to have covered ten miles of ocean.

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3 comments to 7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific

  • Fred Flintstone

    Very sad to hear. However in 50,000 miles of sailing the seven seas I have never seen ANY rubbish once I am more than 30 or 40 miles offshore. In fact the deep oceans are always crystal clear. Ive seen the occasional fishing float but thats it. Never seen a container floating either…

    Interestingly, on a recent trip to the Antarctic, the ice was just fine. In fact the shelf was ‘3 weeks late melting’ that year. I dont know who was arrogant enough to decide natures timetable for melting but nature wasn’t listening!

    Know of anyone one who was killed by the millenium bug? Died of AIDS? Or actually met a paedophile???

    Me neither.

    Asteroids are next. Mark my words


  • Dear Fred – Yes, but…

    A sample of 1 is not as compelling as a ton of evidence, and analysis…I bet you have never been taken hostage by pirates, or run down ny a ferry either – but it has and does happen nevertheless – thats the strange thing about the Universe – you dont need to observe something for it to be true …

    May I recommend a book called the Black Swan by Nassim Taleb…

    Russ 🙂

  • Chelsey

    im writing an essay for my grade 12 world issues class on the pacific garbage patch and your article helped me lots, thanks : )

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