Giant Garbage Patches Help Redefine Ocean Boundaries
Floating marine debris collection, seen from below. Photo source: NOAA
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of environmental concern between Hawaii and California where the ocean surface is marred by scattered pieces of plastic, which outweigh plankton in that part of the ocean and pose risks to fish, turtles and birds that eat the trash. Scientists believe the garbage patch is but one of at least five, each located in the center of large, circular ocean currents called gyres that suck in and trap floating debris.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, Australia, have created a new model that could help determine who’s to blame for each garbage patch – a difficult task for a system as complex and massive as the ocean…