Caught in the net
Only a few swim free. Surveys of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch conducted in 2015 and 2016 estimate 78,400 tonnes of plastic waste are packed into an area almost the size of Queensland. This figure is much greater than previous estimates and has increased exponentially since the 1970s.
Scientists were surprised to find that most of the mass was made up of larger pieces, such as fishing debris.
Less and less will swim free.