Nature | News

'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' Has Twin in Atlantic

A swirling garbage patch has been identified in the Atlantic for the first time. No doubt there are more to be found in oceans around the world:

Patch "The new plastic waste, which was discovered in an area of the Atlantic to the east of Bermuda, consists mostly of fragments no bigger than a few millimetres wide. But their concentrations and the area of the sea that is covered have caused consternation among marine biologists studying the phenomenon. Using fine-mesh nets towed from a research ship, the scientists collected more than 64,000 individual plastic pieces at 6,100 locations out at sea over the 22-year period of the survey. The highest concentrations were centred at approximately the same latitude as Atlanta, Georgia (32 degrees North) but extended about 500 miles north and south of this line."

Find out what ends up in the garbage patch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. This is no surprise. It is located in the centre of the North Atlantic gyre, a circular ocean current with a dead zone in the middle. There are five major gyres in the world's oceans, North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific, and Indian Ocean. southern hemisphere gyres likely have less garbage in them because we in the northern hemisphere are the source of most of this.

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 21, 2010 5:38:12 PM


  2. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ISSUE.

    Very few plastics are biodegradable. Please, do not buy plastic bottles, buy a reusable bottle. Starbucks offers discounts for customers who bring in their own containers. Buy cloth shopping bags for groceries, and if you need to, use paper. NEVER use plastic bags. Only certain plastic is recyclable and recycling plastic causing more pollution. Use reynolds wrap for food instead of plastic ziplock bags. We need to stop the use of plastic.

    WE ONLY HAVE ONE PLANET TO LIVE ON!

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 21, 2010 9:51:31 PM


  3. I thought wind blew from west to east ...

    Posted by: anonymous | Aug 21, 2010 11:08:16 PM


  4. It is also widely known that for years huge cargo ships and some shady cruise lines disposed of a great deal of waste at sea compounding the problem.

    Posted by: Piper | Aug 21, 2010 11:20:34 PM


  5. This may seem like a silly question but I gotta ask:

    How hard would it be to clean it up? I mean, clearly it would take FOREVER to do so, but why not at least try?

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 23, 2010 1:08:20 AM


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