Yachtsmen will clean up the plastic in the Pacific

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In August, more than 60 yachts will arrive in Honolulu to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race, one of the world's oldest sailing competitions.

After the race, however, the crews will not go home but will participate in an expedition to study the Great Pacific garbage patch.

The idea belongs to The Ocean Cleanup, an organization that has long been studying the Pacific «garbage patch». According to environmentalists, the garbage patch is currently twice the size of the state of Texas. But its exact size is questionable: plastic particles are too small to be seen from an airplane or satellite, and no one has so far conducted boat surveys. Curiously, it was Captain and oceanographer Charles Moore, returning from the Transpac regatta, who was the first to discover the debris.

Expedition coordinator Stella Diamant said:

«Maybe someone thinks there's some kind of "island of plastic" in the ocean that's easy to evacuate. In reality, the remnants of this garbage float chaotically in the sea and break down. They don't decompose completely, but only spread to new areas».

Participants in the Transpac race will be trained in plastic particle collection techniques. The Expedition committee expects that, thanks to the help of the sailors, the volume of trash collected in three weeks will exceed the amount previously collected in 40 years.

Stella Diamant says: «Even though boaters are not exactly the right category of people to participate in a scientific expedition, they are the right people to be aware of the problem and see it from the inside, having been to «the plastic debris area».

«Garbage islands in the ocean» have been hotly debated by boaters in recent years. While some are convinced that the problem has reached an alarming level, others believe that throwing waste overboard won't hurt anyone and the litter problem is greatly exaggerated.

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