Where Does All the Plastic Go?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Plastic has been around for nearly 150 years, and unless it’s been recycled, every bit of it is still around today. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there is a watery resting place for many of these forgotten objects. Due to open and unfiltered sewers, and consistent ocean currents, the garbage gathers in a specific region of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii, China, and the US mainland. This garbage patch, which has been estimated to be the size of two states of Texas, is known as the North Pacific Gyre (pronounced Jyre). Luckily, interest in the gyre is gaining steam. PBS’ s News Hour with Jim Lehrer recently did a report on it. You can see it for yourself at:  pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec08/plasticocean_11-13.html.

—Gabrielle Harradine, Assistant Editor