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The Pacific Garbage Patch

How Did it Get There?

Where Does the Trash Come From?

Persistent Plastic

The Problem with the Patch

What Can We Do to Help?




san franciscoWhere Does the Trash Come From?

About 80% of the trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from activities on land. Litter like plastic bottles, bottle caps, and candy wrappers can end up in storm drains or in rivers and streams that empty into a bay or the ocean. Also, in coastal cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the wind often blows litter into waterways or directly into the ocean. The rest of the trash in the Garbage Patch (20%) comes from activities at sea. Every year, about 100 million containers are shipped over the world's oceans. One of the shipping routes is between Asia and North America. There are frequent, severe storms along this route, which cause hundreds of containers to go overboard each year. Many of these containers hold things like tens of thousands of shoes or millions of plastic shopping bags and other plastic items.

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