Ellie Chivers reports on a recent clean-up in a 1.6 million square kilometre rubbish patch in the Pacific Ocean.
Photo by Silas Baisch
After a long 48-day expedition, the non-profit organisation Ocean Voyages Institute has made history by carrying out the most expansive ocean clean-up ever, recovering a staggering 103 tons of waste near Hawaii.
This record-breaking operation removed fishing nets and plastic debris from the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone.This specific area of the sea contains the largest and most infamous accumulation of ocean plastic in the world, having coined the moniker of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’.
Situated halfway between Hawaii and California, the garbage patch is estimated to span over 1.6 million square kilometres, an area three times the size of France, and is formed by rotating ocean currents – or gyres – that pull detritus into its centre. This operation begins what will be a slow and laborious effort to clear the plastic, as the accumulation contains an estimated 80,000 tons of rubbish in total.
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