Pacific Garbage Patch Now Adding Debris From Japanese Tsunami
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. Read the full article, my latest on Inhabitat.