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What is the Gyre

Gyre Facts

• A Gyre is a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents that rotate in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. These create a whirlpool effect, whose vortex moves more slowly at the center and that is where marine plastic debris collects.

• There are 5 major Gyres in the oceans worldwide, all of which are believed to contain plastic and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These consist of carbon-containing chemical compounds that, to a varying degree, resist photochemical, biological and chemical degradation.

• The North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and swirls in the Pacific Ocean roughly between the coast of California and Hawaii.

• Currently, an estimated 11 million tons (and growing) of floating plastic covers an area of nearly 5 million square miles in the Pacific Ocean, 700 miles northeast of the Hawaiian Island chain and 1,000 miles from the coast of California.