Between California and Hawaii lies a gyre (jir), one of the five areas in the world’s oceans where the currents maintain a circular pattern. The North Pacific Central Gyre is nicknamed the Eastern Garbage Patch due to multiple “islands” of garbage, one of which is twice the size of Texas. Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foudnation describes the gyre’s currents as “a kind of a toilet bowl effect” where swirling water pulls in debris and captures it. Unfortunately, the toilet bowl can’t flush.
Eighty percent of the 3.5 million tons of refuse caught in this waterworld garbage heap originates from land. Twenty percent originates from boats at sea.