As debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan now washes up in North America, much of it is also settling into the Pacific Garbage Patch. Stretching northward from the outermost Hawaiian Islands, this swirling gyre of trash is often estimated to be twice the size of Texas and growing. Now more debris from the Japan disaster is appearing near Midway Atoll, 2500 miles southeast of Tokyo.

The Japanese government estimates that as many as 25 million tons of waste from houses, boats and automobiles were washed out to sea in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Two-thirds of it settled off Japan’s coast. But the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) has run computer simulations that suggest a vast blanket of debris will settle across the Pacific from Asia to North America, even reaching the Philippines and Alaska. Most of it will sink or degenerate into tiny bits of plastic that will form a thin film at the ocean’s surface, and one to two million tons of it will settle within the Pacific Garbage Patch.

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About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009 his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). During 2013 and 2014, he lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as an associate director with a leading public relations firm within Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.