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Picture of a teddy bear caught in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

It’s a rumor that we hoped would never be confirmed: at least 1,700 miles of plastic trash is floating in what is commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Up until this point, scientists only had a vague idea of the scope of the trash they would find in the North Pacific Gyre, a vortex where four ocean currents meet. Isolated patches have been reported by sailors and fishermen, but now researchers, sailors, journalists, and government officials on a nearly four-week journey through the gyre say that plastic shards and netting abound in a space bigger than the state of Texas.
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