Learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with iMinds insightful audio knowledge series. In 1997, a Californian man named Charles Moore was sailing home from Hawaii after competing in a boat race. On a whim, he decided to change course and head through a part of the eastern Pacific Ocean known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Known to seafarers as "the doldrums", this is an area of light or no wind and little boat traffic. Its calm weather is due to a permanent column of high pressure air, which causes the ocean for hundreds of miles across to swirl slowly towards its center.
As Moore headed into the Gyre, he started to notice an unsettling amount of debris floating in the water. The closer he got to the center, the more garbage there appeared to be, and the vast majority of it was obviously of human origin. In fact, most of it was discarded plastic.
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