Business, Finance & Economics

Great Pacific Garbage Patch will soon have even more garbage


Doug Woodring, an entrepreneur and conservationist who lives in Hong Kong, displays rubbish on May 07, 2009 on a beach on the south side of Hong Kong which has been left uncleaned. A group of conservationists and scientists is due to set sail for an obscure corner of the Pacific Ocean in the coming months to explore a vast swirl of waste known as the 'Plastic Vortex.' The giant gloop -- which some scientists estimate is twice the size of Texas -- has been gradually building over the last 60 years as Asia and the United States tossed their unwanted goods into the ocean.



The Fukushima power plant meltdown isn't the only environmental problem created by the Japan tsunami. Refrigerators, TVs, rooftops and other items that the tsunami swept away last year are now floating in the Pacific Ocean, the Washington Post reported. Officials expect the debris to get caught in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The tsunami, which killed 15,844 people and left over 3,000 missing, also washed out 8 million tons of debris to the sea. Most of the debris sank near the shore, the Los Angeles Times reported. But the debris that didn't sink has since traveled 3,000 miles away. 

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The debris could first show up on the North coast of Hawaii this winter, the Associated Press reported. It may reach parts of the West Coast by 2013.

The trash is currently moving toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, a Texas-sized area in the central North Pacific Ocean made of up trash. The trash is formed by plastic waste that is not bio-degradable, chemical sludge and other items.  The marine garbage already in the ocean will make it difficult for scientists to distinguish between trash from the Japan tsunami and trash from the rest of the world, the LA Times reported

However, there may not be much of a difference between tsunami trash vs. regular trash. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the AP that the debris from Japan isn't contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima plant.