Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Plastic Island Grows 100-Fold

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The plastic island, known as "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch," has grown 100-fold in 40 years.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego traveled to the plastic island - the size of Texas - and found insects called "sea skaters" or "water striders" are using the trash as a place to lay their eggs in greater numbers than before.

In their research, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, scientists noted that nearly 10 percent of fish in the area had eaten micro-plastic:

"During the voyage the researchers, who concentrated their studies a thousand miles west of California, documented an alarming amount of human-generated trash, mostly broken down bits of plastic the size of a fingernail floating across thousands of miles of open ocean."

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was created by plastic waste that finds its way into the sea and is then swept into one area, the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, by circulating ocean currents known as a gyre.

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