Captain Charles Moore and his team spent six months locating a 2.5 million square kilometre garbage patch in the South Pacific Ocean. (researchgate.net).
A garbage patch 1.5 times the size of Texas has been spotted floating through a desolate patch of the South Pacific Ocean.
The enormous 2.5 million square kilometre mass is believed to be a composite of trash from around the globe that has been caught up in strong circulating ocean currents, ResearchGate reports.
The garbage patch’s existence had previously been debated until captain Charles Moore and his team embarked on a six-month voyage to the region.
“We discovered tremendous quantities of plastic. My initial impression is that our samples compared to what we were seeing in the North Pacific in 2007, so it’s about ten years behind,” Moore said.
Unlike other garbage patches detected in the world’s oceans, the trash found in the South Pacific Ocean swarm is tiny in size, often microscopic and is bonded together by the strong currents over time.
“We found a few larger items, occasionally a buoy and some fishing gear, but most of it was broken into bits. We haven’t yet done lab analysis, but based on my visual impression, an enormous area of the South Pacific has millions of plastic particles per square kilometre,” Moore said.
The microbeads of plastic have become such a problem that during the inaugural UN Ocean Conference last month, experts warned the garbage in the world’s oceans could outweigh fish by 2050.
Microbeads are prevalent in hundreds of everyday household products including soaps, toothpaste and cleaning products.
Once they enter the ocean they are almost impossible to clean.
Research is still being undertaken to determine the risks to humans from consuming marine life that has ingested microbeads.