Giant Floating Garbage Patch: Now In the Atlantic, Too!

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Kentaroo Tryman/Johnér Images/Corbis

Remember the trash patch in the Pacific Ocean? Yeah, now there’s one in the Atlantic, too.

A 22-year study of trash concentrations in the Atlantic uncovered an area some thousand miles wide, containing a surfeit of small plastic fragments. The area begins in the part of the ocean just east in Bermuda.

“The Pacific has received more attention in terms of plastic accumulation but we know less about the Pacific so it’s very difficult to compare the Atlantic patch in terms of size. We had a cruise this summer to try to find the eastern extent and in fact we failed to find it,” said Dr. Lavender Law, one of the study’s participants, to the Independent.

Scientists warn that the environmental impact of the plastic patch is little understood, but warn that the small size of the pieces isn’t reason to be encouraged. “We know that smaller pieces of plastic are eaten and it’s unclear what happens to that plastic then. But clearly biological organisms were not designed to eat plastic,” said Law. (via