New exhibit shines spotlight on ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ floating mass twice the size of Texas

New exhibit shines spotlight on 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch,' floating mass twice the size of Texas

WATCH: The giant garbage patch that lies in the Pacific Ocean is growing bigger every day. As Aaron Guillen reports, the biggest threat isn’t large pieces of trash, it’s actually smaller than your pinky nail.

Masses of garbage that are floating in the Pacific Ocean should be found in your landfill. But instead, it’s made a giant mass in the ocean, between Hawaii and California – and it’s twice the size of Texas.

In a new exhibit at the Maritime Museum of BC, visitors can learn all about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and what they can do to watch their waste.

“It’s definitely been surprising and we’ve all been woken up and become hyper-aware of how much plastic we use on a day to day basis,” says Brittany Vis, executive director at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

The Great Pacific Garbage patch is created by two massive ocean currents, but it isn’t the only one. There are five other regions in the world where this debris is accumulating. 

What concerns the museum most are microplastics – waste that’s no bigger than five millimetres. But when ocean life such as fish mistake them for food, the tiny microplastics can end up on your dinner plate.

“I gotta admit it actually turned me off to seafood for a while,” Vis adds.

“We are actually eating our own garbage which is actually pretty disturbing.”

From mascara, to face wash, and even when you wash your clothes, microplastics are present.

“When you wash your clothing, you’re releasing a lot of those plastics, which of course ends up getting washed into our oceans directly,” says Vis. 

Luckily, small changes to personal living can contribute to big changes for the ocean.

“For example, by putting a filter on your washing machine that catches all the fibers before going into the water,” says Sarah Dudas, significant areas program lead at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The exhibit aims to help Islanders identify their waste to ensure that their everyday items don’t end up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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