Plastic in Pacific Has Grown 100-Fold Since 1970s
Study takes a look at the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch'
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 9, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
This image provided by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows a patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/ Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Mario Aguilera)

(Newser) – Humanity has tossed a lot of plastic into the Pacific Ocean in the last 40 years. The level of small plastic pieces in the so-called "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has increased 100-fold over that span, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found in a new study. "We did not expect to find this," one researcher tells the BBC. "To find such a clear pattern and such a large increase was very surprising."

Leave plastic in the ocean long enough and it'll break down into small easy-to-swallow pieces—an earlier study indicated that 9% of fish have plastic in their stomachs. There's another environmental consequence, too: Marine insects called Halobates sericeus, or sea skaters, have been using the plastic as a place to lay eggs, so their population is exploding in the region and could impact plankton and fish eggs, which they feed on. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a Texas-sized area, born from ocean currents that conspire to assemble trash and detritus, MSNBC explains.

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May 14, 2012 2:34 AM CDT
Strange, I always read the patch wasn't discovered until the late '90s, how would they know how big it was in the '70s?
May 10, 2012 10:07 AM CDT
This is just a theory made up by Al Gore and the liberal media. It's all part of the natural cycle of trash. Here today, gone tomorrow. Many scientists are now debunking this myth. Just look at Kansas. You don't see trash floating in their ocean.
May 9, 2012 12:50 PM CDT
Use the only true renuable and truly bioderadable stuff. Use Paper..