The Ultimate Great Pacific Garbage Patch Quiz

Staff

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is caused by the North Pacific Tropical Gyre. What's a gyre?

A gyre is a series of currents that move in a circular pattern. They aren't popular places for large fish, but they do attract a lot of trash.

If you dragged the Great Pacific Garbage Patch onto dry land, how much territory would it cover?

The Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches are connected by the Subtropical Convergence Zone, a 6,000-mile (9,656 kilometer) long current. The result is an oceanic landfill that spans an area twice the size of the continental United States.

How much trash is currently in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

It's hard to know for sure, but researchers estimate that you can find about 3.5 tons (3.18 metric tons) of trash in this oceanic landfill.

Where does all that garbage come from?

Only 20 percent of the Garbage Patch's trash comes from people working on the sea. The rest starts out on land and makes its way there, carried along by the wind or by sewer systems.

The Plastiki is like the anti-Garbage Patch. It's an environmentally friendly catamaran built to raise awareness about waste and the ocean. How many plastic bottles will make this boat float?

Approximately 12,000 reclaimed plastic soda bottles will be used to float the Plastiki on its attention-getting journey from San Francisco to Sydney.

Nurdles make up 10 percent of the ocean's plastic trash. What is a nurdle?

A nurdle is a small piece of plastic formed by photodegradation. Plastic doesn't chemically change as it decays -- it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces over time. Also, a nurdle can refer to the basic form of plastic used to make other products.

Nurdles are a threat to marine life because:

Nurdles act like sponges in the ocean and absorb toxins. The toxins are concentrated in the nurdle and can be detrimental to marine life.

Compared to the amount of plastic, how much plankton lives in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

For every 6 pounds (2.72 kilograms) of plastic, there is 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of plankton.

How many marine animals die because of trash each year?

Approximately 100,000 marine animals die each year from a trash-related incident.

What do experts believe is the best way to stop the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from growing?

Recycling and handling trash properly on land is the best and easiest way to keep litter from entering the ocean. It sounds ironic, but removing the trash that's already there could harm some marine ecosystems.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Did you know the world's biggest landfill isn't actually on land? It's in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. How did it get there, and what's in this landfill?

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