Anyone that has assisted with Coastal Cleanup Day in San Joaquin County can tell you that we contribute more than our fair share of polystyrene, plastic bags, and other plastic waste to the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. Here’s and interesting piece published  in the Christian Science Monitor exploring the ramifications, and what attracts fish to the plastic in the first place! – Jeremy

Pacific Ocean trash patch mystery: How many fish eat plastic?

Small fish living in a region of the Pacific Ocean where floating trash collects in a huge, slowly swirling bowl eat as much as 24,000 tons of plastic waste each year, scientists have found.The region, dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is double the size of Texas. It contains plastic flotsam and jetsam – toys, cups, wrappers, and bottles – that slowly degrade under sun and wave action into smaller and smaller fragments, until fish often mistake them for food.

Because of a problem in collection methods, prior studies tended to exaggerate the amount of plastic that fish consumed, as well as the percentage of fish consuming plastic. Now, the new study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows that nearly 1 in 10 fish in the region had plastic in their stomachs.

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