The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

While a beautiful sunset on the beach can be astounding, a spectacular scene is not the only benefit oceans provide. Without the oceans, we would not have adequate amounts of oxygen to breathe or enough protein to eat. The Earth's climate would not be inhabitable for human beings and many animals. The oceans supply medicines, food and drinking water which arise from ocean processes. Out of the five oceans, the Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest and deepest ocean. It spreads over an area of 165.2 million square kilometers. More than 25,000 islands float within the Pacific. Within the Pacific Ocean lies an unusual island, an island that is more than twice the size of Texas and is earth’s largest landfill, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (McLendon). Society is unaware that the excess use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials has ended up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is the main source of ocean pollution. The solutions, ranging from manual clean-up to eliminating any further obliteration to the Garbage Patch, will reduce the amount of effluence the world has to endure.
Accumulating plastic bags, bottles and other debris, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch forms a tenuous junk yard hovering over the North Pacific Ocean (McLendon). The floating junk extends for hundreds of miles (McLendon). Located between Japan and California, the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, one of the six major oceanic gyres, collects trash along a strip that connects the Eastern Garbage Patch and the Western Garbage Patch (McLendon). These garbage patches are two spinning vortices that make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (McLendon).
Although scientists do not know a plethora of information about the garbage patch, they have concluded that it consists mainly of plastic (McLendon). Almost ninety percent of the trash consists of plastic (Silverman). The world produces two hundred billion pound of plastic a year, twenty billion of that ends up in the ocean each year (Silverman). Fourteen billion sinks and ends up damaging life on the ocean floor and the rest floats and end up in gyres and garbage patches (Silverman). This strikes much concern because plastic is not biodegradable; therefore, plastic floats there forever because microbes do not recognize it as food. Making matters worse, the sunlight photo degrades the bonds in plastic polymers and makes plastic smaller for tiny marine organisms to consume (McLendon) The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic (“Silverman”). Reducing the amount of plastic consumed, would lessen the amount of compost that is not biodegradable.
Numerous tribulations to the health of marine life ensue as a result of the Garbage Patch.
To marine life, plastic is like a poison. Filter feeders suck the tiny particles up resulting in their bodies being marred. Some animals eat the plastic which sometimes poisons them or leads to fatal...

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