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How debris travels in the Pacific Ocean:

  Simulation and animation were generated by Islands4Kids
Simulation System: Courtisy of NOAA
  This is a typical course of the Black (Kuroshio) Current. The Black Current is a fast moving ocean current on the North Pacific Ocean, circling clockwise. Marine debris that leaves Southeast Asia takes about two years to reach the pacific coast of the United States, and another two years to return to Asia. So, a round-trip movement from Southeast Asian takes roughly four years.

Not only do marine debris travel to the other side of continent, they also affect the beach eco-system for long periods of time.

What are “Garbage Patches " ?

  "Garbage patches" are areas of high marine debris concentrations. These patches of marine debris do not form islands or other large formations that can be seen by satellite or aerial photographs, as a large proportion of debris sink below the surface of the ocean. Though the excact locations cannot be specifically identified, there are two approximate areas of garbage patches. The Eastern Garbage Patch is located approximately within the North Pacific Subtropical High between Hawaii and California. The Western Garbage Patch may be located near the Kuroshio current off the coast of Japan.

Marine debris "Exit Survey" at Miyako Island, Okinawa, Japan

  Most of the Taiwan Warm Current extension merges with the Black Current north of Miyako Island, which determines the course of marine debris. From these geological reasons, we positioned Miyako Island as the "Exit Survey Point of Asian Originated Marine Debris" before they travel across the Pacific Ocean. Click here to view our "Exit Survey".
While some trash end up in the shores of Miyako Island, many are carried away by next high tides and will get on board the Kuroshio (Black Current) again, traveling across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. 

(Picture: Mizuhama Beach, Miyako Island)

Marine Debris "Arrival Survey" in Ocean Shores, WA


To see if marine debris really travels that far, we have been doing "Arrival Survey" investigations at Ocean Shores, WA. Through our arrival surveys, we have found Asian marine debris produced in China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other Asian nations. This gives us reason to believe that those trash came to the U.S. Pacific coast directly through the Kuroshio (Black Current). However, it is still not certain where the debris actually started its journey.

Click on the image below to enter our research website ISLANDS4KIDS.ORG

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