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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

March 27, 2009


Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Did you know that the North Pacific is home to the world’s largest landfill, a floating area of debris bigger in size than the state of Texas? Due to ocean currents, much of the world’s trash has accumulated in what’s known as the Western and Eastern Great Pacific Garbage Patches. The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California and is estimated to be twice as big as the state of Texas. The Western Garbage Patch lies between Hawaii and Japan. The two patches are connected by a 6,000 mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone.

Most of the trash in the patch consists of plastic, and as such, constitutes a hazard to marine life and fishing.

  • we’re putting hundreds of millions of tons of plastic into the sea
  • in the US, we use 2 million plastic beverage bottles every 5 minutes
  • an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles in the north Pacific are killed every year by plastic in the seas
  • between 70%-100% of north Pacific seabirds are affected by mistakenly eating plastic
  • micro sized plastic debris tripled in the north Pacific between 1995 and 2005

What can you do?

  • If you see litter, pick it up. 
  • Recycle your plastic or properly dispose of non-recyclable plastic
  • Reduce your use of plastics. If you buy water in plastic bottles, consider switching to filtered water in a non-plastic, reusable container such as Sigg or Klean Kanteen (It will save you money in the long run too).

Learn more. Watch Captain Charles Moore’s presentation about how plastics are choking marine life.

Why is the world’s biggest landfill in the Pacific Ocean?

Green Glossary: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Garbage Patch


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