Great Pacific garbage patches, illustration

Great Pacific garbage patches, illustration

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Credit: NOAA Marine Debris Program/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Restrictions: This image may not be used to state or imply NOAA endorsement of any company or product

Caption: Great Pacific garbage patches. Illustration showing the location of the Great Pacific garbage patches, the Western Garbage Patch (left), and the Eastern Garbage Patch (right), in the North Pacific Ocean. These large rotating ocean currents (gyres) contain marine debris particles and are characterised by exceptionally high concentrations of plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have become trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Current. Between then is the subtropical convergence zone. The North Equatorial Current is also shown at lower centre. At far right, the California Current is labelled, while the Kuroshio Current off Japan is labelled at far left. The debris is continuously mixed by wind and wave action and widely dispersed both over huge surface areas and throughout the top portion of the water column.

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