The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of the ocean that due to ocean currents, has become a specific area that has been overcome by marine debris. The garbage patch comes primarily from Asia but sea currents gather waste from all over the world.
Where is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch lies between California and Asia. There are two major patches, the Eastern and Western patch. The Western patch is between California and Hawaii.
There are also other heavily polluted parts of the ocean such as the North Atlantic Garbage Patch.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch made of?
The patch is made of many plastics, this can be single use plastics such as bottles, fish nets, marine debris and other items that cause havoc for the ocean and its inhabitants. The plastic pollution ranges in size too, from huge items such as damaged parts of boats and microplastics. I’ve previously blogged about How do microplastics affect humans? It also consists of a chemical sludge made of products such as oil. You can watch below a video about what researchers find in the ocean every day.
How big is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
The Great Pacific Garbage patch is not all clumped together. It is thought to be spread across 1.6 million square kilometres according to The Ocean Cleanup Project. Within the centre of the patch it is thought that there is 100 kilograms of waste per square kilometre. On the outside it is reduced to 10 kilograms per square kilometre. There is thought to be 80,000 million tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Even with raised awareness and more effort than ever going into ocean protection, this patch is still increasing. If we continue at the current rate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. This is also due to overfishing as well as plastic pollution.
What can we do?
Every choice we make can combat the growth of plastic pollution. A personal reduction in the use of plastic is something we can all do. Sometimes the best defence is attack. By reducing the demand of items based on the packaging used, companies will have to listen. They ultimately want to sell and maximise profits. We can have the best of intentions putting our rubbish in the general waste or recycling bin. Sadly once it leaves our control it could be disposed of irresponsibly or be blown out of bin lorries and left in the environment.
By making One Change Now we can all make an impact in protecting and reducing pollution in our ocean.