Yet another floating garbage patch has been spotted in our oceans, this time off the coast of the Atlantic. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, researchers note a huge “swirl of confetti- like plastic debris” stretching over thousands of miles. Similarly to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in between the California and Hawaiian coasts, trash located in this mass of debris (largely consisting of PLASTICS!) in the Atlantic is held in place and spun into a “vortex” created by ocean currents. Long trails of seaweed, combined with plastic bottles, crates, and other forms of trash drift into what’s called the North Atlantic Subtropical Convergence Zone. Unfortunately, because these ocean gyres rotate in a circular fashion, they attract more than just debris. Ocean gyres also pull in tons of nutrients like plankton that many fish, birds, and marine mammals depend on for food.

Because there is virtually no way to clean these messes created by humans, researchers say the best way to combat this issue is to keep plastic out of the oceans by “raising awareness, and, whenever possible, challenging a throwaway culture that uses non-biodegradable materials for disposable products.”

We now know that marine debris in the ocean is not an issue that resides solely off the coast of the Pacific; this is a global problem. Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the scientist credited with the discovery of the Pacific garbage patch, suspects that there are definitely comparable amounts of plastic in the Atlantic, and notes, “Humanity’s plastic footprint is probably more dangerous than its carbon footprint.”

Please find the attached url link to the full article in the online Associated Press, entitled “A 2nd garbage patch: plastic soup seen in the Atlantic” by Mike Melia, Associated Press: Thursday April 15, 2010