Update from the Garbage Patch

Back on August 7, I posted a note about Project Kaisei, a research expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area in the North Pacific Ocean, bigger than Texas, in which a large amount of primarily plastic rubbish has been collected  by the prevailing winds and currents.   The National Science Foundation has reported today that the first of the two research vessels involved, the New Horizon, has completed its sample-collecting trip.

What they found, 1000 miles from the coast of California, was not a pretty picture.  The ship trawled through the area, collecting samples at various depths:

On August 11th, the researchers encountered a large net entwined with plastic and various marine organisms; they also recovered several plastic bottles covered with ocean animals, including large barnacles.

The research team also collected a large number of plastic bottles, many inhabited by a variety of sea creatures.  (The NSF press release has a number of images of some of the rubbish found.)   It’s striking, and sad, that there is all this junk floating out there in the middle of the ocean.

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