It looks like the phrase “everything’s bigger in Texas” is no longer true. Due at least in part to human’s need to have more and bigger everything, we’ve created a gigantic amount of waste that’s contaminating our oceans. According to scientists studying these garbage piles in the ocean, there is a floating garbage island that is now twice the size of Texas, USA Today reports.
You’ve probably heard of the garbage island in the middle of the ocean. However, there are multiple garbage piles accumulating in the ocean and they are probably bigger than most of us realize. These garbage piles accumulate in something called gyres, which are spots where the oceans’ currents move in circles, making it the perfect gathering spot for trash to become trapped. There are five Gyres in the ocean — the North Atlantic Gyre, the South Atlantic Gyre, the North Pacific Gyre, the South Pacific Gyre and the Indian Ocean Gyre.
— UN Environment (@UNEP) May 4, 2017
A study was released on Thursday regarding the largest of these Gyres. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the North Pacific Gyre between California and Hawaii, is known to be the biggest garbage collection in a gyre. Conducted over a period of three years, the study, which was published in Scientific Reports, announced that at least 79 thousand tonnes of plastic are floating in an area of 1.6 million square kilometers, and is approximately 16 times bigger than previously estimated.
Last fall, environmentalists called on the United Nations to officially declare and recognize this garbage patch as a country called “The Trash Isles,” CNN reports. Nearly 200,000 individuals agreed to become citizens, including former Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore.
This current report, as well as the campaign for “The Trash Isles,” show how much more environmentally conscious we need to be. If garbage keeps collecting at the current rate, it will become harder and harder to discard it. Now more than ever, we need to find a way to be more environmentally friendly.