Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The patch is a Texas-sized area in the central North Pacific Ocean filled with marine litter — including high concentrations of plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris from around the world — dropped there by oceanic currents. It has formed gradually over time since at least the late 1990s.
The nearby northwest Hawaiian Islands boast an array of marine life, including sharks, monk seals and other species, earning it a national monument designation under former President George W. Bush in 2006.
Dan Jacobson, legislative director for the advocacy group Environment California, said in an interview that it makes sense that some of the debris would end up near Hawaii.
“It isn’t surprising; it’s what we were expecting,” he said, adding that the remote area in the Pacific “is basically overflowing with plastic pollution.”
Other portions of the tsunami debris could reach the coasts of Oregon, Washington state, Alaska and Canada as soon as next year, NOAA officials said.
Below, watch a TED Talk by Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, the first to discover the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: