Huge floating garbage patch vanishes overnight

Huge floating garbage patch vanishes overnight

Part of the floating garbage patch in the Gulf of Thailand. Photo released on Wednesday by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources
Part of the floating garbage patch in the Gulf of Thailand. Photo released on Wednesday by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN - A floating sea of garbage found in the Gulf of Thailand moved overnight and was not to be seen when environment officials arrived in the area on Friday morning.

On Thursday evening an aerial survey located the 800 metre by 1 kilometre floating mass about eight kilometres east of Koh Talu, a popular shallow water dive site in the province.

But when environment officials arrived in the area on Friday morning in three speedboats to examine it closer, it was nowhere to be seen.

Sopon Thongdee, deputy director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said he personally saw the garbage from the plane on Thursday evening.

Now he was waiting for a satellite photo and a report from a military plane sent out to find it again. They would then start a cleanup operation.

The huge garbage patch might be debris trapped in water draining off the land after the recent floods, especially from Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon provinces, Mr Sopon said. It was the biggest floating garbage patch ever seen in Thai waters. He estimated its mass at 100 tonnes.

Wind and wave action had probably moved it overnight. Once located again, crane equipped boats with big nets, assisted by divers, would scoop up the garbage for proper disposal, he said.

Later: "Garbage island" is found and will take 10 days to clear


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