Science Snippet: Trash and Ocean Currents

Way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some 3,000 miles from a city of any size, is tiny and unpopulated Henderson Island. Recently a marine biologist visited the island and discovered it was covered with more than 17 tons of trash, driven there by winds and ocean currents. There were 672 pieces of visible debris per square meter buried in the sand. The mess was made up of plastic fragments, fishing gear, toothbrushes, baby pacifiers, bicycle pedals and a sex toy. Except for the sex toy, such discoveries are not new, and there are swirling vortices of plastic trash at a number of sites in the Pacific. Such sites are made up of mostly plastic items, from microscopic pieces to intact plastic water bottles. Since the evidence indicates such sites are continuing to grow, the big question is: what is mankind to do about these messes? (Scientific American, 2017, Aug., p 20)

Article Comments