|FEBRUARY 4, 2008—Ever wonder where all the garbage goes? Well, there’s a United States-sized pile of plastic trash swirling around in the Pacific Ocean.|
Discovered by American sailor Charles Moore in 1997, this massive “plastic soup” is alarming scientists all over the world.
The debris is two huge, linked areas of trash, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, research director of the U.S.-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
While the boundaries shift with the tides, the floating debris spans about 500 nautical miles in the Pacific, from Japan to California. Smack dab in the middle, the Hawaiian islands’ regularly clean up piles of this flotsam from its beaches.
“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,” Eriksen told the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”
Underwater currents pull floating trash into the mass where it is trapped. The trashy, wet mess is composed largely of plastic as it does not biodegrade.