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Posted Fri Feb 27 2009: from Scientific American:
The Great Garbage Patch
In 1997 Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, set sail from Hawaii and discovered, in a remote part of the North Pacific, an island -- made of plastic. Moore measured about 300,000 tiny pieces of plastic per square kilometer back then, but a decade later there are approximately 2.3 million pieces of plastic per square kilometer. What is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the size of the United States, according to Moore.... The plastic never degrades, but sunlight and wave friction break it into tiny particles, smaller than five millimeters, that remain suspended in the water. Holly Bamford, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says it's likely that filter feeders like clams or jellyfish are eating the plastic, which may prove dangerous all the way up the food chain. Ongoing studies will try to determine the patch's impact.
[Read more stories about: plastic gyre, plastic problems, ecosystem interrelationships, stupid humans]
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Faith says: "The size of the US!? It was only the size of two Texases just a few months ago!"
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'Doc Michael says:
That's no patch -- that's a continent!

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