The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Powerful Essays
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch By: Niamh Leah Frances Edmonstone

Imagine one day the whole ocean turning into a giant patch of toxic trash. People have been trashing the ocean for years, but now there is too much trash out there and it is destroying the environment and killing the marine life. If we don 't try to stop this issue from escalating in the near future, The Great Pacific Garbage Patches size will increase rapidly and have huge effects on the planet we live on. Charles Moore, an oceanographer and a yacht racer, discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997 after he had competed in a yacht race ("National Geographic Education"). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California. The size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is unknown but is said to be the two times the size of the state of Texas in the USA, and it is continuously growing. Eighty percent of the trash is land run, which means the trash has been littered somewhere in the world and has floated or has been blown onto the trash patch. Ships have dumped the other twenty percent of the trash ("National Geographic Education"). It is said that there is around 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer ("Drowning in Plastic."). All the trash is all in a giant dump because of a gyre. A gyre is a current system in the ocean, which pulls water from one part of the ocean to another ("National Geographic Education"). The gyre has pulled all that trash into a vortex, a large swirling pool of water, which has trapped all of the trash i3n one place. The trash has a huge effect on the wildlife around the area where the vortex is located. For instance, turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, which are part of their diet while birds think that bottle caps are fish (Heimbuch). Fish and whales, seabirds and other marine life can get stuck in nets and six pack rings ("Briney"). The birds and turtles are in danger of choking or starving



Cited: "Algalita History." Algalita Marine Research Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://www.algalita.org/about­us/history.html> July 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jul/10­the­worlds­largest­dump>. "Ocean Dumping." Ocean Dumping. Advameg, Inc., 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.pollutionissues.com/Na­Ph/Ocean­Dumping.html> "Ocean Plastic Pollution and How You Can Help." Greenpeace International. N.p., 30 Oct. 2006. Web. 28 Feb. 2013

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    "Why Is the World 's Biggest Landfill in the Pacific Ocean?" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.…

    • 1635 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Trash: Ocean

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages

    * McLaughlin, Jacqueline S. "The Kingdom fungi, food chains & plastic pollution." The American Biology Teacher 70.4 (2008): 201. General Reference Center Gold. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.…

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Walking on any beach these days, you're sure to find at least some form of plastic on the shoreline. Granted, there's a lot of other stuff floating out in the sea, but unlike natural materials, plastic doesn't degrade normally. Plastic bottles, containers, foam pieces made from polyurethane, and fishing lines are showing up in whole or pieces, and are getting dissolved into the water, to be absorbed by plankton. So much plastic has taken over our oceans, in fact, that in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, there is a gathering of plastic, debris and toxins twice the size of Texas (Casey, 2007) affectionately dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.…

    • 1084 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oceans are polluted to a great degree due to humans using plastic and not being recycled.…

    • 1121 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) has caused a lot of problems. People have come up with ideas as to how we can fix the problem in a cost effective and plausible way. One of the major concerns is the wildlife in the oceans. Marine biologists use devices such a waterproof cameras to track the movements and habits of marine life. This may allow us to see how the trash is affecting the animals in their habitats but can be disrupted if there is to high of a concentration of trash in the water. Marine biologists also use biostatistical programs and microcomputers to enter in information that tracks the animals. It can be shared with other scientists. While marine biologists and animal rescue teams are saving animals lives…

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In addition to the environment, marine animals mistakenly eat plastic bags due to people’s littering, which keeps killing ocean wildlife. The clean and blue oceans in California always attract tourists to spend time enjoying it during their holiday. Nonetheless, trashes littered by people gather together in the oceans due to ocean current, and plastic bags play a key role. As plastic bags dissolve, it forms a collection of marine debris, which forms Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Generally speaking, Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a lot of marine debris is collected together by the ocean current. People can distinguish this garbage easily, but marine animals don’t have this ability. According to California Coastal Commission, marine debris harms…

    • 1577 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an issue that needs to be brought to attention. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has happened because people's trash get in the ocean instead of going where it belongs.The effects of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be destructive to the nature around it. Some things are being done about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch such as plastic bags being banned.…

    • 399 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Jersey Shore Ocean Pollution

    • 2734 Words
    • 11 Pages

    Ocean pollution is such a broad topic, and one that has many facets to it. As a group, we found it to be a very intriguing topic that it relevant to our everyday lives. As New Jersey residents, we have all spent time at the Jersey shore. We have all enjoyed the small and big beach towns, the sand, and of course the ocean. Recently, we have each noticed reduced pollution and cleaner water. Then we read article after article on increased pollution, damaging toxins, deteriorating health and wellbeing of sea life. How can this be, with all the scrutiny and awareness placed on litter and pollution is general. Then we realized that it was more than just leaving a plastic bottle on the beach or failure to through away a paper wrapper. In fact, it is more damaging than this. It is more so about the toxins and chemicals that seep into the land, the runoff from building and homes, the ground and air pollution that comes from industry and factories, and the pesticides that are evident in farming and everyday lawn care.…

    • 2734 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Garbology

    • 1023 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash is a non-fictional work written by Edward Humes, in which he demonstrates the effects of waste which human’s have relentlessly produced over the previous decades. In chapter 6, Nerds vs. Nurdles, Humes exhibits the damage that half a century of careless consumption has had on the environment and ecosystems. Our society today has been blind to its surroundings as a product of consumer apathy and does not realize the detrimental effects of our wasting until it is too large a task to resolve. Society neglects to think beyond the extent of the present and the potential consequences and harms materials could bring once we decided that it is no longer beneficial and toss them out. Scientists cannot even begin to predict the approximate amount of plastic nurdles that floats within the ocean. Without any awareness of the amount of trash, it makes the mission of cleaning the ocean impossible. An individual’s never satisfied hunger for the newest technology continually swells the ocean with increasing plastic. Synthetic material is viewed as a necessity for making everyday life easier. Ironically, plastic gradually finds a path back to harm society that appreciates it so greatly. Through bio-magnification, plastic finds a way back to humans through the consumption of seafood; additionally humans ingest chemicals from synthetics which aquatic animals previously consumed. As plastic remains in the oceans it will continually find a path up the food chain, consequently humans will inescapably ingest their own trash through fish and crustaceans which occupy large portions of daily diets. Consumers also avoid the most detrimental aspect of ocean dumping, the result it has on phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that account for virtually 50% of oxygen. By blindly consuming and creating more garbage, civilization is inadvertently suffocating itself. The lacks of concern consumers and producers have for disposal methods are not…

    • 1023 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Plastic pollution is something that is drastically changing our ecosystems. With more trash thrown into bodies of water every day, it’s said that “plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050” (“How”). Microplastics are changing the way plastic pollution may travel, and not in a good way. Microplastics are pieces of plastic less than 1mm in size and because of that, they can’t be removed from the ocean. In recent studies, researchers discovered that Zooplankton are able to digest these (“Plankton”). Normally, when they defecate, without digesting the plastic, they travel to the bottom of the ocean floor and build up to strengthen the nutrients on the bottom floor. However, when Zooplankton digest plastic, since it’s less dense than what they normally eat, it takes longer time to travel so the feces will most likely be caught by a fish while travelling to the bottom of the floor. This is a rhetorical analysis of the article “Plankton feces could move plastic pollution to the ocean daily”.…

    • 555 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Plastic In The Ocean Essay

    • 1021 Words
    • 5 Pages

    They gave it the name “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” , because of all the trash in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean is only a collection of garbage today. Because of the large amount of plastic in the ocean the plastic does not disintegrate. It breaks down into tinier pieces until it is smaller than the size of plankton. “The sea floor beneath the Great Pacific Garbage Patch may also be an underwater trash heap. Oceanographers and ecologist recently discovered that about seventy percent of marine debris actually sinks into the bottom of the ocean “ (National Geographic.org) About eighty percent of the debris comes from Asia and North America. The remaining comes from boaters and cargo ships that dump or loose garbage right into the ocean. Scientist have collected up to 750,000bits of microplastics in a single square kilometer in the…

    • 1021 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oil is one of the many resources being dumped into the ocean. Approximately 8.8 million tons…

    • 717 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In Purdy’s article, she discusses the five garbage patch gyres located in the ocean. She states that these gyres were noticed in the 1970s but didn’t catch the public eye until 1997 when Captain Charles Moore began to perform research. He observed that there was far more plastic than plankton. Purdy discusses how gyres damage the aquatic life and ecosystems on the ocean's floor. The article ends by stating how scientists agree that the only way to fix this issue is by drawing attention to the problem, taking steps such as recycling, and using items that contain no plastic…

    • 100 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    We 're treating the oceans like a trash bin: around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of that is plastic. Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environment and our economy. Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation. Scientists are investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health.…

    • 1096 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Plastic in the Ocean

    • 1180 Words
    • 1 Page

    Pacific Ocean Plastic Waste Dump that I found most interesting was that “This mass of plastic is slowly being broken down into a plastic dust that marine wildlife mistake for food. Small fish consume tiny bits of plastic as if they were normal plankton. Those fish are then consumed by larger species and the plastic contamination moves up the food chain” [ (Fitzgerald) ]. I will admit that I have been to the ocean on numerous times and I have watched waves carry out plastic bottles, sandwich bags and other plastic based items. Some of the items that have washed away have been my own. I never really thought much of until today. While on vacation, I also enjoy dining out on seafood. The thought that I could potentially be feeding my daughter and my family potentially harmful food due to plastic contamination from my lack of knowledge and understanding is very disturbing to me. As Kristen E. Silven states in her article Plastic Contamination in the Atlantic Ocean, plastics contain chemicals that are slowly released in to the waters and atmospheres, which the fish will end up breathing in and contaminating themselves, fishermen then catch these fish and the contamination ends up back in the human food chain. I have been told throughout my life to limit my intake of tuna due to the high levels of mercury that are found in tuna. In a study conducted by Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins during the Algalita Marine Research Foundation’s 2008 voyage across the North Pacific, they found that 35% of the 671 lantern fish had plastic particles in their stomachs. Lantern fish are the primary food source for Salmon, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and other fish commonly eaten by humans [ (Boyle) ]. This will increase the possibility of ingesting toxic chemicals such as BPA, Phthalates and the oily toxins that the plastic is able to absorb (such as partially burned carbons) due to plastic being oliophillic. I know that after reading and researching this topic, this year on vacation, I will make…

    • 1180 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays