Scientists To Study Great Pacific Garbage Patch

08.04.09 | FL News Team

Marine scientists have left California, headed to the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. They want to take a look at a massive patch of plastic and other jetsam in the center of the ocean dubbed the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." About 30 researchers boarded a vessel Sunday and headed out on a three-week voyage from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. The expedition will study the amount of human debris, mostly tiny plastic fragments, that has collected in the area and how it affects marine life.


Marine experts say the huge debris field has been formed by clockwise spinning ocean currents within a "convergence zone" near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the West Coast of the United States. The expedition will look at the effect on sea life and whether the plastic bits carry other pollutants, even tiny organisms that may travel with the debris.