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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains 4 to 16 times more plastic than we thought

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), a massive area of floating plastic debris that is more than twice the size of Texas, actually contains between 4 and 16 times the mass of plastic that scientists previously estimated. And the amount of plastic within this area is growing “exponentially,” according to a comprehensive three-year study using 30 vessels and a high-tech reconnaissance aircraft.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, provides a detailed analysis of the size and types of plastic caught up in the Garbage Patch, which occupies about 1.6 million square kilometers, or 617,763 square miles, between Hawaii and California.

The GPGP is just one of five ocean garbage patches that have developed around the world as people use more and more plastic, which is not biodegradable and is used for everything from water bottles to shipping crates.

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