Monday, February 26, 2007

Patch of garbage in Pacific the size of Texas

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"I often struggle to find words that will communicate the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to people who have never been to sea. Day after day, Alguita was the only vehicle on a highway without landmarks, stretching from horizon to horizon. Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastics.

"It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastics debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world's leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the 'eastern garbage patch.' But 'patch' doesn't begin to convey the reality. Ebbesmeyer has estimated that the area, nearly covered with floating plastic debris, is roughly the size of Texas."
Excerpt from 'Trashed: across the Pacific Ocean, plastics, plastics, everywhere', Natural History, Nov, 2003 by Charles Moore (emphasis added)

(Note to Australian readers: that's a 'patch' of plastic flotsam almost a quarter the size of the State of Western Australia, and nearly as large as New South Wales.)

Lid dip to Buy Gaia.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, at Wikipedia.

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