The world's oceans contain 7,000 to 35,000 tons of floating garbage, mostly plastic. Areas of the ocean where waste tends to concentrate are called "garbage patches." These patches are created when marine debris is carried and then trapped by ocean currents. Currently, each ocean has at least one garbage patch.
More about garbage in the ocean:
- The Pacific Ocean contains two garbage patches: the Western Garbage Patch, southeast of Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.
- Microbes have been found to live on plastic garbage, mainly the cholera bacteria, Vibrio.
- The size of garbage patches varies greatly and is difficult to determine. This is due to plastics breaking down into smaller pieces that cannot be detected by satellites.