North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
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Fact of the Day
This spot out in the Pacific Ocean is a place where ocean currants and wind patterns meet. The wind and water spiral together around this spot. With this in mind it is easy to figure out why there is a reserve of trash in such a place. Everything lost in the oceans is deposited in this whirlpool.
It used to be a gold mine for feeding albatross and other birds and fish. Today a heap of every kind of garbage, but mostly plastic deposits, swirls in circles until disrupted by a weather change. When the cycle is pushed a bit towards the shore, miles of beaches get flooded with the trash. This happens mostly around the Alaska-Washington coast of the United States and sometimes in Japan. A wash-up in 2003 led to the discovery of many World War II relics. More recent finds included huge shipments of Nike running sneakers and countless messages in bottles.
Curtis Ebbesmeyer [site], the head of this operation, tags and tracks pieces of the garbage to see where they are coming from and where they'll end up. He has come to the conclusion that left sneakers wind up in a different part of the world than right sneakers because they float upside down and are a slightly different shape.
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