Skip to main content

True of False: Plastic

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- True or False: The largest collection of plastic waste on earth is in the North Pacific, spanning an area twice the size of the U.S.

The answer is: TRUE

Unfortunately this one is true. The largest concentration of plastic trash in the world is floating in the Pacific Ocean, and has now earned itself the dubious unofficial title of the largest landfill on earth.

We have been unconsciously contributing to this landfill for the past 50 years and today, it spans an area twice the size of the U.S., stretching from 500 nautical miles off the coast of California all the way across the northern Pacific and almost getting as far as Japan.

It is called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it was first brought to the world's attention by an oceanographer called Charles Moore in 1997. According to Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Moore founded, the plastic waste has increased five fold since then. There is now thought to be 6 times more plastic than there is plankton in these parts of the Pacific.

Plastic constitutes a whopping 90 percent of all trash floating in the oceans, and that represents as much as 80 percent of all plastic waste on earth.

The United Nations Environment Programme now believes that every square mile of ocean has around 46,000 bits of plastic floating in it.

No-one has yet figured out how to remove what could be as much as 100 million tons of waste floating on these oceans.

(Source: The Independent; Algalita Marine Research Foundation; United Nations Environment Programme) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print