Plastic waste pollutes not only the coastal water and beaches. A majority of the waste accumulates in the middle of the oceans where huge water masses rotate within gigantic vortices. The most well known waste vortex is the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", a huge waste carpet in the North Pacific.
Photo: Jim Leichter, Location: North Pacific
Despite great public attention to the region full of waste in the eastern North Pacific, the available data on the spatial scale and the temporal development is limited. The American Institution Sea Education Association (SEA) published the first data in 2015.
Photo: SEA - Giora Proskurowski, Location: North Pacific
In the 11 year measurement series on plastic concentration on the ocean surface in the Pacific, for the first time data with which the extent of the polluted area can be assessed is now available. The images show sampling with plankton nets from a sailing research ship and the study of the plastic particles.
Photos: SEA - Skye Moret, SEA - Marilou Maglione, SEA, SEA, Location: Nord-Pazifik
The highest measured concentration within the 9 million square kilometer plastic carpet was 12 million plastic particles per square kilometer. This area of about 1,800 x 5,000 km corresponds to the size of the USA or 25 times the size of Germany. According to the calculations of the scientists at least 21,290 tons of plastic are floating in the huge waste vortex. * measured by the Sea Education Association from 1999 to 2012. Source: Modified from Law 2014, https://pubs.acs.org
Photo: Kara Lavendar Law