In my continent (On Earth), there is one specific part of the land that is pretty much all covered in trash and waste, and the surrounding bodies of water are also polluted and so are part of the surrounding regions. So my question is could there be trash on one part of the land with barely any plant life and no trash on the rest of the continent? By the way, there are no humans on this continent all the trash comes from other places.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you saying that the trash is not shipped there, it finds it's own way there somehow? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Jun 20 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ For reference, see The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Jun 20 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ No humans on it now, but perhaps there were at some time? Or maybe not humans ... $\endgroup$ – Bloke Down The Pub Jun 20 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't the answer to this just be "yes"? Can you expand or clarify your question to get to why you might think this couldn't happen? $\endgroup$ – Tom O'Daighre Jun 23 at 21:35

Absolutely yes.

enter image description here

None of this trash on a beach was dropped there by humans.
Much of it was dropped many thousands of kilometers away.

The distribution of the trash is not even though. Some places will concentrate it, some places will disperse it. It depend on the specific confluence of currents and wind patterns just where the trash heads to, and whether it gathers in offshore gyres or gets dumped on a beach. Wind and waves can even act to strip all the mobile trash from one location, and redeposit it some distance away, much the same way that some locations deposit sand and form a beach, while other stretches of seashore strip the shoreline down to bare rocks.

And not only oceans can carry trash, the wind does a great job of it too:
enter image description here

Now these plastic bags did not come from thousands of kilometers away, but they did blow in from the town which is some 30 kilometers upwind.

As for how far trash can travel:
Consider the very interesting case of the "Friendly Floatees"
In 1992 a ship accidentally lost a container carrying a cargo of plastic bath toys in the Pacific.
These toys have been appearing all over the world.
Once a floater is in the ocean, it can get just about anywhere where the ocean gets, given enough time. enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget the large garbage patch in the sea that has interesting adventures. To add: A whole continent can be cleaning everything very diligently and giving it to several garbage disposal companies. They all take it out to sea and dump it, so it'll wash up somewhere else on the continent. Exactly as the Snake Master wants $\endgroup$ – Trioxidane Jun 20 at 7:06
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    $\begingroup$ Reluctant +1 because this answer made me sad. $\endgroup$ – Studoku Jun 20 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ (opinion based comment) I can connect, Studoku.. incredible that it has come to this point, especially with plastics.. in 70 years we've spoiled the oceans. There's some progress.. theoceancleanup.com/oceans $\endgroup$ – Goodies Jun 20 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for helping $\endgroup$ – Snake Master Jun 20 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ Yup. Last year I found a piece of plastic tube in a place I'm sure it wasn't dropped--it only makes sense if it came from many, many miles upstream. And that was only from occasional waterflow, the area was normally bone dry. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Jun 20 at 23:08

Trash, like any other substance, can be distributed by weather agents like wind and currents, so it is plausible that it reaches even remote locations.

Take a look at what happens with volcanic hashes, dust, plant seeds, plastics and so on, just to consider a broader definition of "trash": they are carried over for even thousands of kilometers and spread around the globe.

It's however unlikely that really no trash gets deposited in a specific part of a region. You would need to have it excluded by all water and air circulation, so that nothing can carry anything from outside. Just for a reference, even remote regions like the Himalaya or Antarctica get their fair share of air carried pollutants.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the help $\endgroup$ – Snake Master Jun 20 at 18:56

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