Can you see plastic Island from space?

Plastic island from space

There is talk of an elevation sixteen times higher than previous studies, an alarming and worrying growth. It is estimated, in turn, that it contains about 80,000 tons of plastic. Thus, the so-called garbage island is one of the largest concentrations of plastic of a magnitude never recorded.

Laurent Lebreton, the lead author of the study, from The Ocean Cleanup Foundation in the Netherlands, has stated, given the increasing concentration of plastic, that “the situation is getting worse. This highlights the urgency to take action to stop the arrival of plastics in the ocean and to clean up the mess that has already been made.

Trash island summary

The Plastic Continent,[1] also known as Trash Island, Toxic Island, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Pacific Garbage Swirl, Pollution Island, and other similar names, is an area of ocean covered with marine debris and plastics in the central North Pacific Ocean, located between coordinates 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N.[2] This oceanic dumping ground is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris trapped in the currents of the North Pacific Ocean Gyre (formed by a vortex of North Pacific Ocean currents).

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This oceanic dumping ground is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris trapped in the currents of the North Pacific ocean gyre (formed by a vortex of ocean currents).

The existence of the slick was described in 1988 in a publication of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States, which was based on results obtained in laboratories in Alaska between 1985 and 1988, which measured floating plastic in the North Pacific Ocean.[5] These laboratories found high concentrations of marine debris fragments accumulated in areas characterized by certain ocean currents.

Garbage island google maps

Faced with this tremendous situation, the Norwegian architectural firm WHIM has proposed to collect all this waste, and turn it into a habitable island, a floating land powered by the force of the waves and the sun, self-sufficient in agricultural composting. It is an island made of plastic salvaged from the sea. The island, which at the moment is not likely to become a reality, at least not in the short term, would have a surface area of 10,000 km2, and would be self-sufficient in terms of energy, since its creators believe that its best options lie in solar energy and in taking advantage of the most abundant resource around it: the power of the sea. They also propose that a large part of the land be dedicated to agriculture, so that its inhabitants can plant and harvest all the food they need to survive.To learn more about the great Pacific island of plastic waste here, here, here and here.

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Plastic islands 2020

Microfragments resulting from gradual degradation by weathering and waves are not only endangering marine wildlife, but are entering the global food chain, with unpredictable long-term consequences for both animal life and our health.

Paolo Corradi oversees ESA’s project to tackle this problem: “For example, with satellite maps of ocean currents we can simulate the accumulation of debris in large eddies in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.”

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“What we are doing with this new project is assessing the feasibility of optically measuring marine plastic debris via satellite. It may seem like an impossible mission, but we have reason to believe that it could be done, at least at certain concentrations.”

“We’re not talking about locating floating debris, but identifying in orbit a clear spectral signature of plastic, just as processing software today can identify concentrations of phytoplankton, suspended sediments and aquatic pollution.”