The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Guess where the world’s largest landfill is…? If you said the Pacific Ocean, you would be right. Apparently there’s an area twice the size of Texas that’s filled with trash – mostly plastic. It’s a terrible, huge problem, killing more than 1 million birds and other sea creatures every year, because they eat it, get stuck in it, or feed it to their babies. And because of the way plastic degrades, it’s pretty much impossible to clean it up.

Most of it comes from land, either washed in via storm drains or blown in by the wind. Once the trash enters the water, it’s carried by currents and wind into the patch, where it can drift for many, many years before being eaten, sinking or washing up on the beach.

Here are a couple of places with more information, from HowStuffWorks and a personal account by Charles Moore. It’s rather frightening, and I keep wondering what I can do to help clean up this mess. Maybe that will be my next job?

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