Ursula Kazarian

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Publication Date

Fall 2006


Hundreds of square miles of discarded plastic have formed islands on the high seas, created by drifting debris caught in the oceans’ currents. The islands are held together at the points where these currents merge, producing massive, rotating vortexes of trash visible to the human eye from afar. The largest of these islands, located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and San Francisco and known as the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” is reportedly twice the size of Texas and continuing to grow. The slightly smaller “Western Garbage Patch” lurks off of the shores of Japan. Many more are growing around the globe. Very little research has been completed, but the scant information that has been reported is certainly cause for worry. The populations of native species of birds and other wildlife near the patches are plummeting, and resort beaches throughout the Pacific are cluttering up with seasonal plastic tides.