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Need to Know

The Reality of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A 60 Minutes report dives into the misnomers of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Producers of 60 Minutes produced a report recently on the epidemic of plastic in the ocean. Producers spoke with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Kevin O'Brien, who oversees marine debris removal in the Pacific between California and Hawaii, according to a CBS News report.

O'Brien told 60 Minutes that when he sailed through the Garbage Patch, he noticed an uptick in the amount of plastic he was seeing all around him, but it wasn't quite an island of trash. Rather, plastics floating in the ocean are exposed to several environmental factors that cause them to break down into smaller fragments, making them more difficult to remove.

CBS News has more details:

The world's largest collection of ocean debris is also the most famous, but its name, the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," is a misnomer.

For starters, it's not one giant patch.

"It's not a mass. It's nothing you can see from space, all these things one's heard," 60 Minutes producer Michael Gavshon said in the video above. "But in fact it's just a giant soup, a gyre. It's a whirlpool of tiny fragments of plastic in the ocean at various depths."

Read the full article here.

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