The ‘great Pacific garbage patch’ is 3 times the size of FRANCE
- The ‘great Pacific garbage patch’ is bigger than thought: Toxic area is three times the size of FRANCE and contains 79,000 tonnes of plastic
- ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ is the world’s largest accumulation of ocean plastic
- Research suggests that there is far more plastic waste in the area than thought
- Microplastics are accumulating in the region says the Ocean Cleanup Project
- The toxic particles get into our food supply when they are eaten by fish and can penetrate our internal organs
By HARRY PETTIT
The largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world, known as the ‘great Pacific garbage patch’, is now three times the size of France, new research has found.
Aerial images reveal 79,000 tonnes of plastic in the huge ocean accumulation zone west of California, a figure 16 times higher than previous estimates.
The results suggest that there is far more plastic in the area than scientists thought, and that microplastics are rapidly accumulating in the region, researchers at the Ocean Cleanup Project found.
The tiny toxic particles get into our food supply when they are eaten by fish and can penetrate our internal organs and carry toxic chemicals into the body.
The authors caution that more research is needed to quantify sources of ocean plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and to better assess how long plastics stay in this area
Pacific Trash Vortex
Study coauthor and Ocean Cleanup scientist Dr Laurent Lebreton told MailOnline: ‘The great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP) is located half way between Hawaii and California.
‘It is formed by converging currents at the sea surface and accumulates floating plastic waste.
‘Plastic waste may decompose into small fragments, often referred as microplastics that may be harmful to marine life.’
Dr Lebreton and his team at the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, based in Delft, the Netherlands, have conducted the most extensive analysis ever of the GPGP.