A story in the Chron notes that a massive flotilla of disposed plastic is littering the Pacific Ocean between the West Coast and Hawaii:

The enormous stew of trash – which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers – floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man’s land between San Francisco and Hawaii.

Marcus Eriksen, director of research and education at the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, said his group has been monitoring the Garbage Patch for 10 years.

“With the winds blowing in and the currents in the gyre going circular, it’s the perfect environment for trapping,” Eriksen said. “There’s nothing we can do about it now, except do no more harm.”

The patch has been growing, along with ocean debris worldwide, tenfold every decade since the 1950s, said Chris Parry, public education program manager with the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco.

That’s a lot of plastics. Apparently the debris gets trapped in a circular ocean current and just floats there till some unfortunate sea creature tries to eat it.

Incidentally, if you’d like to reduce your plastics load in our landfills (and oceans), local Safeway stores sell cheap cloth bags that can be reused over and over so you don’t have to fret over whether to use paper or plastic.