The Great Pacific Garbage Patch


Pieces of plastic floating in the ocean

Within the environment, there are many functioning cycles that keep the world turning. One of the important environmental factors is the ocean. The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and has very important functions; it produces more than half of the Earth’s oxygen and absorbs fifty times more carbon than the atmosphere! The absorption and circulation of carbon are crucial for the production of oxygen, a chemical necessary for life. 

Unfortunately, the world seems to be filled with a growing number of pollutants. Some main ocean pollutants include fertilizers, oil, and dirt. Nearly all pollutants have come as a result of humans misusing resources. 

“Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land”, proclaims the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

These numbers are substantial and came as a result of our faults. In addition to the pollution that comes as a result of runoff, plastic and man-made substances have become a worsening problem for the oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the Central North Pacific Ocean, is one example.

Accumulation of trash in the Pacific Ocean.

Patches are almost entirely made up of tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics”, according to the National Geographic organization.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has formed as a result of ocean currents and gyres. These pieces of garbage get caught in these currents and are carried together, into what is now known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. There are five offshore plastic accumulation zones but the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest known accumulation. This zone is a massive threat to marine life and can outsource to rivers and other coastal environments. 

Aside from the accumulation of microplastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, forty-six percent of its total mass is made of discarded fishing gear. Marine life can get tangled up in discarded fishing nets which halts reproduction and could possibly lead to death. 

Pollution is something that humans continually contribute to. Knowing this information, it is crucial to watch what you are adding to the ocean. The ocean plays a vital role in every human’s life and you have an essential role in protecting it and its inhabitants.