It is an amorphous flotsam of trash floating just below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. It has no defined edges but is larger than Texas (twice as large), maybe larger than the United States by now. It weighs 3.5 million tons, more than all of the Blue Whales alive today. And it kills. It is like a monster-movie blob consuming all it touches.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch mimics lush feeding waters. The plastic shopping bags look like jellyfish. The Styrofoam coffee cups and discarded cigarette lighters look like fish until they are eaten. Birds, fish, and mammals eat until they are full and starve to death. The photo below shows the stomach contents of one 6-month old albatross.
Like any good monster movie creature, it is growing at a fantastic rate. It has been growing at a rate of 10-fold every year for the last half-century. It has even spawned. There is another island of trash growing off the coast of Japan.
"But," says the pro-business conservative, "it's in the middle of the ocean, why should I care?" I am convinced (upon no empirical evidence) that the collapse of the Pacific salmon fisheries this year is directly related to this massive dead zone in the middle of the Pacific. As this rubbish monster continues to grow it will cover more and more of the ocean and make more and more of the Pacific inhospitable to life.
Mother Nature has no weapon to fight this monster except time. It will take a quarter of a million years after we humans have died off and can no longer feed the monster for Nature to breakdown and absorb our garbage island.
The best article on this subject is from Best Life. The London Daily Mail had a short article from which I borrowed a graphic. Also US News and World Report from six years ago and Jaded Thea.
Below is part 1 of VBS.TV's video about the Great Pacific Garbage Island.