More than 40 tons of trash removed from Pacific barely makes a dent

Environmentalists have removed more than 40 tons of plastic from the Pacific Ocean.

The group, Ocean Voyages Institute, said the cleanup mission was the “largest and most successful ocean cleanup to date” in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch, between Hawaii and California, is the biggest concentration of floating debris in the world.

Using satellite and drone technology, the crew removed trash including detergent bottles, plastic furniture and children’s toys. They also collected fishing gear called “ghost nets,” with one weighing 5 tons and another weighing 8 tons. “Ghost nets” are massive nets of nylon or polypropylene that drift and accumulate plastic debris.

“Monster ghost nets are very important to get out of the ocean, but it’s sometimes the small ghost nets that get wrapped around whales and dolphins and kill them,” Mary Crowley, founder of Ocean Voyages Institute, told CNN. “Even the small pieces are very important.”

About 1.5 tons of the collected plastic was given to the University of Hawaii graduate art program and individual artists on the island, Crowley said. The artists plan to transform the plastic into sculptures and other works. The remaining amount is expected to be processed by Schnitzer Steel and sent to Hawaii’s H-POWER plant to be turned into energy.

There’s still a lot more debris out there

Forty tons may seem like a lot — it’s equivalent in weight to about