START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

‘Plastic soup’ in Pacific Ocean bigger than the United States

‘Plastic soup’ in Pacific Ocean bigger than the United States
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.

Read more: News & Issues, , , , ,

By Care2 editorial staff

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
7:20PM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

sad...sickening....embarrassing to humanity....

8:43AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

so much waste tsunami! the low marine animals that had to bother with it and die because of the waste.

7:59PM PDT on Apr 4, 2012


8:31AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

You may note that this article was written in 2008 well before the tsunami. But it may have added to its size. There is an abandoned Japanese fishing shipping vessel without a crew from that tsunami that is floating toward and within 200 miles of Alaska.

7:12AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

nasty. and this was posted several years ago.

11:42PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Wow. Its bigger than I thought.

7:35AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

lot of it is from the recent tsunami.That just added to what was and is there to make the pile Bigger again.Love to see others are concerned may that continue to Grow too!

5:46AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

John - tried to sign your petition but it says its now closed!

5:00AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

Help is on the way The Environmental Cleanup Coalition is building the ship

Sign My Petition to show your support

3:17AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

I am surprised n one has started a non profit to start a ship to start cleaning up the plastic which would get others to join. I was thinking of the same idea.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Great news! This fantastic example will certainly make more people try the vegan way. Congratulation…

Thanks for the help!

Weeping. Too too adorable


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!