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plastic in the ocean: floating wasteland

Scientists refer to it as the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” the largest dump in the world is in a desolate area extending from 500 miles off the coast of California, past Hawaii and extending almost to Japan-in the Pacific Ocean. Held together by a slowly rotating system of currents northeast of Hawaii, the Eastern Garbage Patch is more than just a few floating plastic bottles washed out to sea; the Patch is a giant mass of trash-laden water exceeding the size of the continental United States.

This giant garbage patch was discovered by Charles Moore, an oceanographer in 1997. After sailing for a week through nothing but toxic plastic debris floating on the surface, he was stunned and horrified. The realization that we are seriously damaging any future for this planet, its wildlife and ourselves.

Plastic, once a revolutionary product created for the masses, it is now becoming a detrimental product. It is surely just one of the types of pollution filling the seas, but the problem is its nearly complete resistance to the elements and indefinate lifespan.

UN Environment Programme estimated recently that each square mile of ocean water contains 46,000 pieces of floating garbage--90% of the refuse floating in the ocean. Nearly four fifths of this garbage has been carried from litter on land, washed into storm drains, or floated down rivers.

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