Did The Garbage Patch Form?
- It is estimated that about 90 percent of the litter in
the ocean is plastic, which is not biodegradable. There is speculation
that about 80 percent of this litter actually comes from land, while
only about 20 percent comes from the litter of seafaring vessels, such
as cruise ships, oil platforms, and fishing boats.
- Our Earth has
oceanic currents, called "gyres." In the North Pacific, there is
a major gyre that is spinning all of the debris into one area. As shown
in the diagram above, the North Pacific Gyre swirls trash from
Southeastern Asia and the Western coast of North America all into one
- Over 10,000 shipping
containers fall overboard each year, spilling their cargo into the
ocean. A lot of times, this is the result of storms. To put this in
perspective, an average "container" is about 8 feet by 40 feet. These
can carry about 58,000 pounds of cargo, which could be 10,000 shoes,
17,000 hockey gloves, or over a million pieces of Lego.
- In 1992, a
shipment of rubber ducks and other bath toys were overturned in the
Pacific Ocean, releasing roughly 30,000 toys into the ocean. They were
soon known as the Friendly Floatees, and oceanographers and scientists
began to track their paths to better understand ocean currents. Below
is their path, which also helps us understand the path of some marine