Land | Pacific Ocean | Ecotrope

Trawling the Pacific garbage patch

Ecotrope | Nov. 19, 2010 5:03 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:44 p.m.

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Head out into the Pacific garbage patch – a gyre of plastic trash in the North Pacific Ocean – in this video from Project KAISEI.

The group found all kinds of garbage starting just 500 miles off shore, with the heaviest concentrations between 1,200 and 1,900 miles off the coast: toothbrushes, a car fender, all kinds of containers…

The expedition is a collaboration among research institutions, public agencies and and international recycling industry group. They’re collecting trash samples and working on methods of cleaning up this plastic “vortex.” What will it take? Oil skimmers, barges, cranes … excavators? They’re taking any and all new ideas. The expedition has partnered with Covanta Energy, which turns non-recyclable plastics into diesel fuel.

“The model for cleanup would be a mothership with a recycling plant onboard,” says project co-founder Mary Crowley.

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