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Natural Awakenings

Garbage Galore: A Swirling Southern Patch of Plastic Trash

Sep 30, 2013 12:15PM

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and North Atlantic Garbage Patch have already been well documented, and the trashy family is growing. The South Pacific Gyre is an accumulation zone of plastic pollution floating off the coast of Chile.

Scientists at the 5 Gyres Institute, which tracks plastic pollution in swirling subtropical gyres (vortices), discovered this latest mass of plastic by examining ocean currents. A new study published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin marks the first documentation of a defined oceanic garbage patch in the Southern Hemisphere, where sparse research on marine plastic pollution previously existed.

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