The entire contents of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are considered litter. Experts estimate that 80 percent of the patch comes from land-based sources and the other 20 percent from sea traffic. The exact size of the patch is unknown but it is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Much of the debris is plastic that has broken down into small pellets that float just below the surface of the water. The ocean’s currents meet unusually at that spot, causing the garbage to float in a relatively stationary position. The currents sweep garbage westward from the North American coast to that patch in about four years, while they sweep garbage from the Asian coast to the patch in about a year.
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