It captured the world's attention when a huge 'garbage island' was spotted in the middle of the Pacific.

Now, researchers have returned to the area known as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' - and say it is getting worse.

Researchers are spending 30 days living on a boat in the area, and have even taken a drone to capture images from the sky.

'Our research crew is currently living in one of the most polluted areas of the world,' the team at Algalita, founded by Charles Moore, who first discovered the problem, said.

'This place, 1,000 miles away from land, redefined Algalita’s mission and ignited a fire to study the plastic plague destroying our oceans.

'This is the North Pacific Gyre, home of the swirling vortex of plastic trash. '

'The persistence and increasing quantity of plastic debris has created new habitats—essentially 'plastic reefs' that sea creatures have made their homes', the team say.

They also say debris from the Japanese 2011 Tsunami is created its own 'mini islands'.

The team has already found one, dubbed 'bouy Island', that they believe weights 7 tons.

'When the tsunami hit on March 11th, 2011, it must have ripped out this array and sent it out to sea,' said Captain Charles Moore on the organisation's web site.

The team has also found more permanent fixtures in the garbage patch's landscape.

For instance, the team has discovered a 'trash island' more than 50 feet (15 meters) long, with 'beaches,' a 'rocky coastline,' and 'underwater mountains' and reefs made up of ropes, buoys and other plastic debris, Moore said.

Mussels, clams, sea anemones and seaweed were found sheltering on this artificial  island, Moore said.

'It's showing signs of permanence,' Moore told Livescience.

'There will be a new floating world in our oceans if we don't stop polluting with plastics.'