The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), a massive area of floating plastic debris that is more than twice the size of Texas, contains about 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. This is between 4 and 16 times the mass of plastic that scientists previously estimated.  What’s worse is that the amount of plastic within this area is growing “exponentially,” according to a comprehensive three-year-long study using 30 vessels and a high-tech reconnaissance aircraft.  The study, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, provides a detailed analysis of the size and types of plastic caught up in the Garbage Patch, which occupies about 1.6 million square kilometers, or 617,763 square miles, between Hawaii and California.  SEE ALSO: A floating ‘island of trash’ has surfaced in the Caribbean

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