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Most other materials biodegrade or are not as buoyant as plastics, which do not biodegrade.
Their resilience is also their menace, as today plastics have invaded the most distant places, from the Bering Sea to the South Pole.
Sitting on the deck of his boat in Hilo Harbor, Hawaii, last January, he tells me about the crew’s next mission, which is just days away: to map the size, content, and density of the Eastern Garbage Patch. People think it’s like a solid mass of trash you’d find at a dump site (I’ve been asked: “Can you walk on it? ”), but it’s really diffuse, like “plastic soup,” as Moore describes it.
So who knows what is also building up on the ocean floor?Its sprawl may cover an area as much as one and a half times?the size of the United States, Moore says, and to a depth of 100 feet, if not deeper.Around and around: bottles, plastic bags, fishnets, clothing, lighters, and myriad other man-made items, held until they disintegrate, make their way to distant seas, or merely bob among the waves before washing up on someone’s beach.I learned about the Eastern Garbage Patch, also called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, from studies the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, based in Long Beach, California, has conducted while trolling it seven times over the past decade.