Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

At this very moment in time, there is a patch of garbage located in the North Pacific Ocean that is the size of Texas. This patch of garbage is known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and each day it continues to increase in size. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris that has accumulated overtime. You may be wondering how all of this garbage came together in one area to form this floating junkyard. Earth has five major oceanic gyres. These are huge spirals of seawater formed by colliding currents. The largest is the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. These currents collect the floating garbage and pull it all together forming The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

About 80% of the garbage located in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from land-based activities. This consists of plastic bags, bottles, and other consumer products. The remaining 20% comes from boaters, oil rigs, and large cargo ships. There are many different types of trash that enter the ocean but all of the plastic products is what makes up the majority of the garbage patch. This is because plastic is non biodegradable and instead break down into smaller pieces. 

So why should we care? The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a major issue that is mainly affecting marine life. Seals and other marine mammals are getting tangled due to the growing number of abandoned plastic fishing nets. Animals mistake the debris for food and consume these products which can produce harmful toxins. Ingesting these harmful toxins can cause health problems and eventually lead to death. 

Its time to make a difference. Scientists have agreed that the best way to start cleaning up the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is by limiting or eliminating our use of disposable plastics and increasing our use of biodegradable resources. That way it prevents more garbage from getting pulled in by the currents. Organizations such as the Plastic Pollution Coalition and the Plastic Oceans Foundation are using social media and direct action campaigns to support individuals, manufacturers, and businesses in their transition from toxic disposable plastics to biodegradable or reusable materials.   


Posted By: Rebecca Thomas

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/translating-uncle-sam/stories/what-is-the-great-pacific-ocean-garbage-patch

http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/


5 comments:

  1. After reading your post I was extremely surprised that there even was a “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. I It’s extremely unfortunate that the origin of such a landfill is solely from human activity, and the great amount of plastic that much of the landfill is filled with. Doing some reading on the landfill in general, plastic is a very big contributor, constituting 90% of all trash floating in the world’s oceans. We really must change our habits, even on an individual level to lower the amount of trash, starting with plastic to prevent such landfills from growing even bigger.
    Yustina Kang (Group 2)

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    1. I had only recently learned about this garbage patch and I agree that it is unfortunate that human activity has caused it. If more people become educated on this subject then each individual can put in the effort to clean up the garbage and change their own habits. Every little bit can help to make a difference.

      -Rebecca Thomas

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  2. I've started to hear from a few sources about this.. absolutely disgusting... it's a shame no one with enough money/power cares enough to do something about it, because I'm sure they could. However on the bright side of this, I read this article through facebook about this man who has been designing this "trash-picker-upper" that floats on the oceans surface and pulls floating debris into its center where it is collected... it took him 10 years to develop a working prototype but its now working! Definitely nice to see people trying to make a change/difference in whats wrong with our world. this is definitely a huge issue that needs to get more press and attention.
    -Kelsey Morrison

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    1. I completely agree. I was absolutely disgusted to learn about how much garbage is polluting our oceans. I had not heard about this "trash-picker-upper" but I'm glad that there are people who are trying to clean up our planet. We need more people like him. If more people become educated on this subject then I believe we could start to see a greater change.

      -Rebecca Thomas

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  3. It's really disturbing to see that something this grand in scale is so unknown. Before reading this I have heard about the ocean garbage patch but I haven't heard much about it recently. I believe that it is indeed a good idea to work on preventive measures so the waters do not become more polluted but I also believe that there should be some research done on how to clean up this mess also. If the majority of the pollution is coming from consumer products that's who I believe should begin making moves toward a cleaner ocean, the consumers.

    Emily Mueller (Group 2)

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