The Pacific Ocean is home to a large island of floating garbage, known by the moniker The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Scientists, conservationists and researchers have dipped and dove into this patch to determine what it’s made of, where it floats and how it affects marine life that comes in contact with it. A project called The Ocean Cleanup has recently sent out a ship full of researchers and volunteers out of San Francisco to help begin cleanup efforts on the garbage patch.
The research vessel’s mission was to determine the makeup of the garbage patch by taken samples of garbage from various locations around the patch, estimated by some to be twice the size of Texas. A report of the findings of The Ocean Cleanup project will be released next year followed by a hopeful test of a trash collecting barrier that The Ocean Cleanup has created.
The researchers have so far found that the garbage patch is made up of medium and large size bits of garbage which, when exposed to UV radiation and other elements, break down into smaller bits of garbage that are easily ingested by fish and other marine life. Their goal is to obtain more information about the size and makeup of the patch in order to assist with conservation efforts.
The Ocean Cleanup project began as a Kickstarter project by 21-year-old Boyan Slat, who was inspired to ocean conservation on a trip he took to Greece. While diving in the Mediterranean, Slat realized that he saw more bits of plastic and garbage than he did fish. His attention turned to what many consider the greatest ocean garbage patch in the Pacific, where he will soon test the technology to potentially clean the world’s oceans with minimally invasive methods.
Follow the expedition: The Ocean Cleanup
Boaters return from expedition aiming to map ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ – Toronto Star, August 23, 2015