1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://scuba.about.com/od/ConservationandDiving/ss/The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

1 of 6

Where Is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and What Holds It Together?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

An Island of Trash:
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean floats a huge island. The island extends farther than the eye can see, from horizon to horizon. This is no ordinary island; it is composed entirely of trash. The size of a small continent, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest garbage dump in the world.

Where Is the Garbage Patch?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. The island of trash is so big that scientists have names for the different regions: the Western Pacific Garbage Patch and the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch.

What Holds the Garbage Patch Together?
Currents are resposible for holding the garbage patch together. A type of current known as a gyre catches trash and carries it to the garbage patch. A gyre is a system of rotating ocean currents surrounding a calm area, similar to a vortex. Floating rubbish is picked up by the current, and carried to the the center of the gyre where it becomes trapped in the calm water. Each piece of trash augments the size of the island. Some of the trash on the island biodegrades, some ends up in the animals' bellies and some stays trapped on the island indefinitely. Oceanic currents form gyres throughout the world. However, not every gyre attracts such massive quantities of trash as the Pacific Garbage Patch. &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Who Is Responsible for the Garbage Patch? >>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.