The Toxic Texas-sized Garbage Island Made Entirely of Our Trash

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Toxic Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic

Vice sails to the North Pacific Gyre, collecting point for all of the ocean's flotsam and home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a mythical, Texas-sized island made entirely of our trash.

Come aboard as we take a cruise to the Northern Gyre in the Pacific Ocean, a spot where currents spin and cycle, churning up tons of plastic into a giant pool of chemical soup, flecked with bits and whole chunks of refuse that cannot biodegrade.

Hosted by Thomas Morton


part 2/3
As the Gyre sails into view, we realize Garbage Island isn't an island at all. It's something much, much worse.


part 3/3
As if polluting an entire hemisphere's worth of the ocean with plastic weren't enough, we've also poisoned the food chain. Congrats, humanity. We're fucked.

Original version is Image:Oceanic gyres.png. T...
The north pacific gyre is highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N. The patch extends over an indeterminate area, with estimates ranging very widely depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.

The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography, nor even necessarily to a casual boater or diver in the area, since it consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often-microscopic particles in the upper water column. Since plastics break down to even smaller polymers, concentrations of submerged particles are not visible from space, nor do they appear as a continuous debris field to human eyes. Instead, the patch is defined as an area in which the mass of plastic debris in the upper water column is significantly higher than average.

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