The Trash Vortex is a gyre of marine litter in the North Pacific Ocean. In the gyre – estimated to be as large as the state of Texas – the mass of floating plastic is in parts six times greater than the mass of plankton.
It has been estimated that over a million seabirds and 100 000 marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics, or entanglement.
Some plastics in the gyre will not break down even during the lifetime of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.
SOURCES: Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas (2006), Greenpeace website: www.greenpeace.org