How much trash is in the ocean?

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How Much Trash is in the Ocean?

When searching for Malaysian flight 370, substantial masses of garbage were mistaken for possible airplane parts on multiple occasions. These alarmingly huge collections of waste make one question: just how much trash is in the ocean?

It is hard to pinpoint and measure an exact figure of how much junk there actually is because currents move waste around and there is not tracking system that scales the enormous ocean surface.

Industrial dumping from merchants, military, and cruise ships do the most damage. Merchants vessels alone dump 5.5 million containers of trash every day. Coastal sewage systems also contribute to the problem.

It takes about 500 years for plastic to photo-degrade completely in the sunlight. Until this plasctic actually disappears it will hang around and circulate as it is transported by the ocean's currents. When they travel far enough North, these plastics can freeze into solid masses. The Great Pacific garbage patch is a collection of solid hunks of garbage that have actually formed sizable 'islands'!

Anthony from DNews investigates what we do know about the pollution problems and how much junk is floating around.

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