It offers, by all accounts, a disturbing vision. Anyone sailing through this liquid dump will encounter, from horizon to horizon, concentrations of bobbing rubbish, in every direction, for day after day. Most of what is floating is not even visible, because it is plastic which has broken down into microparticles.
This degenerating soup is [...] about the same size as Britain, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. It has been created by a giant spiral of clockwise ocean currents, known as the North Pacific Gyre, which carries human-created garbage that is slowly collected and consolidated by wind and currents.The phenomenon has a name: the Eastern Garbage Patch. It was first properly documented, quite recently, by a Californian sailor and ocean researcher, Charles Moore, after he took a shortcut by motoring his yacht through the doldrums on his way back from the 1997 Trans-Pacific Yacht Race. A second giant floating mass, created by the same gyre, has been discovered thousands of kilometres away between Hawaii and Japan. Together they are commonly referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The whole thing is to be investigated by a Californian research project, using a boat named "Plastiki", made appropriately from recycled PET plastic. The full article is here.