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The gigantic garbage island in the Pacific Ocean is growing at high speed, according to new research published in the journal Nature .
According to the study, this waste area that expands by 1.6 million km2 – that is, almost three times the size of France – contains about 80,000 tons of plastic.
This figure is 16 times higher than previously reported.
A specific place within this area also has the highest concentration of plastic ever recorded.
“The concentration of plastic is increasing. I think the situation is getting worse, “said Laurent Lebreton, lead author of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation study in Deltf, The Netherlands.
“This highlights the urgency of taking measures to stop the arrival of plastics in the ocean and to clean up the existing disaster.”
Garbage accumulates in all oceans, but the largest is the one in the Pacific, between Hawaii and California.
This garbage area is often described as a mass or an island, although in reality it is an area with a large concentration of plastic that increases as one approaches its center.
The researchers used boats and planes to map this area in the northern Pacific Ocean, where rotating currents and winds cause marine debris to converge, including plastic, algae and plankton.
Microplastics represent 8% of the total floating plastic mass.
Of the 1.8 billion pieces of plastic, some are larger than microplastics, including pieces of fishing nets, toys and even a toilet seat.