Giant Island of Trash

A heap of trash that's twice the size of Texas is floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it's called, is 80 percent plastic, and weighs in at 3.5 million tons. Trapped in a circular course by winds and currents, it's been around since the 1950s, and has been growing tenfold every decade. It's not a dumping ground in the sense that people are flying or boating by and throwing their refuse into the heap. Instead, it's picking up trash that originates onshore, and has since made its way out into the Pacific. Cleaning it up doesn't sound too likely, since the effort would cost billions, but it would be nice if we figured out a way to stop adding to it. Another possibility: turning it into a sort of anti-Disney World. Surely that would convert even the worst plastic-wasting offenders among us into ardent environmentalists.—Gregory Mone