Quick where is the world’s biggest garbage dump did you say in the middle of the Pacific Ocean well that’s the right answer it turns out that there’s something called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and they call it that because it is a an enormous amount of trash floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so the name works see the rotation of the earth and some of the global winds form what are called gyres these are massive rotating ocean currents found around the world but the bulk of the world’s trash ends up in the North Pacific Gyre which is home to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of the GP squared that’s what I’m going to call it from now on okay there’s actually two smaller garbage patches there’s one between Japan and Hawaii and there’s another bigger one the size of Texas between Hawaii and California and they are considered one large Garbage Patch because there’s a 6,000 mile subtropical convergent zone that connects the two annexed like basically a highway of trash isn’t that delightful sounding and who knows how long this thing has been there but in 1997 a racing boat captain named Charles Moore who very much likely wears a Scott’s all the time found the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a lot of people say that the amount of trash there is inestimable well we don’t know exactly how much it is the good people in Hawaii can tell you it’s a lot there are some beaches in America’s most beautiful state that have trash piled ten feet deep that’s a lot of trash and it’s coming from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch now 80% of all ocean-going trash is plastic which doesn’t quite make sense because while we use 200 billion pounds of plastic year just 10% of it ends up in the ocean so why is so much ocean-going trash plastic well that’s because plastic takes so long to break down researchers estimate it takes about 500 years for plastic to degrade and it doesn’t biodegrade which means it would break down into its original components instead it photo degrades which means that exposure to the Sun breaks the plastic down into smaller and smaller versions of its original self these smaller and smaller versions out in the ocean are called nurdles or mermaid tears and despite their astoundingly cute names there actually have a very insidious nature that’s because nurdles not only contain the original chemicals used to make the plastic they also have the terrible capability of attracting other pollutants in the ocean like oil slicks and condensing and concentrating it turning nurdles into toxic powerhouses and then even worse nurdles are eaten by sea life that’s because these little nurdles floating in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch commingle with phytoplankton tiny organisms that are supposed to be there and sea animals eat phytoplankton and when they do they can’t help but also ingest some of the nurdles which means they’ve entered the food chain which is not good when a larger animal eats the animal that ate the nurdle it also ingests the chemicals and so on and so on up the food chain which very frequently ends with you the human grocery shopper at the seafood case so what do we do about all this well it turns out that cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other gyres isn’t much of an option it would take 67 trawlers a full year just to clean up 1% of the GP squared instead the better alternative is to control the plastics on land that end up as ocean-going trash we can find alternatives to plastic that actually biodegrade we can expand plastic recycling programs to include more types of plastic and of course there’s reducing and reusing the amount of plastic so where do you stay on an ocean-going trash are you for it are you against it let us know in the comments below and while you’re down there go ahead and subscribe and for more great stuff go to brain stuff show calm

trash being collected from the pacific ocean