The world’s largest collection of ocean garbage is growing.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash located halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday finds. That’s twice the size of Texas.
Winds and converging ocean currents funnel the garbage into a central location, said study lead author Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the research.
First discovered in the early 1990s, Lebreton said the trash in the patch comes from countries around the Pacific Rim, including nations in Asia as well as North and South America.
The patch is not a solid mass of plastic. It includes some 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and weighs 88,000 tons — the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. The new figures are as much as 16 times higher than previous estimates.