The Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is the plastic accumulation zone found between California and Hawaii has caused concerns on how large it has become over the years.
A Dutch foundation, The Ocean Cleanup, presented initial findings
during an aerial expedition - low flights across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
With the use of a C-130 Hercules aircraft, spotters, and plastic scanning equipment, the team’s expedition’s goal is to measure the most harmful debris in the ocean accurately. This is in preparation for the zone cleanup which is scheduled to start before the end of the decade.
In its first aerial expedition, the team has confirmed the abundance of plastic debris with sizes 0.5m and up. It was reported that more debris was found than what was expected. The observer crew estimated that they have counted over a thousand items in just 2.5 hours.
Boyan Slat, founder of the Ocean Cleanup
said, “Normally when you do an aerial survey of dolphins or whales, you make a sighting and record it. “That was the plan for this survey. But then we opened the door and we saw the debris everywhere. Every half second you see something. So we had to take snapshots – it was impossible to record everything. It was bizarre to see that much garbage in what should be pristine ocean.”
The so-called heart of the garbage patch is said to be around 386,000 sq miles with a periphery spanning further 1,351,000 sq miles.
The great Pacific garbage patch
is said to have grown so fast and is slowly becoming visible from space, according to the UN environmental programme.