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If you are asking yourself what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, we’ve got you covered! This is a huge area in the North Pacific Ocean where tons of garbage has accumulated over time, most of which is plastic waste. We are no strangers to seeing waste on beaches and water bodies. If you ever wonder what happens to all this waste, then the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a great example of that.
People who have studied this patch have repeatedly said that the amount of plastic we use and dispose of without even thinking twice is very detrimental to our health and also to the health of the planet. We need to take concrete steps to do something about this. While the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is quite an extreme case scenario, keep in mind that slowly but surely, we may have many other patches in oceans all across the world if we don’t assess our plastic use today.
The estimated size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is about 1.6 million square kilometers. In this huge area, about 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic float around, almost now coagulated into one giant mass. The weight of all this plastic is probably more than 80,000 tonnes, and these figures continue to grow. The amount of plastic in this huge patch can be compared to about 500 jumbo jets, just to give you a bit of perspective into how messed up the state of our oceans are these days. And if we choose not to intervene, it is only going to get worse. This is the state of just one of the 5 plastic accumulation zones in our oceans. So you can imagine how harmful the collective numbers might be.
It may not be surprising, but the cause of the great pacific garbage is our super high and unnecessary plastic use. Another cause is our incompetent methods of disposing these plastics. It’s not just a large area with plastic swimming in the ocean. A better way to describe the state of this patch would be by calling it a toxic soup with clumps of plastic in it. The situation has gotten so bad that marine animals have no other option but to consume these pieces of plastic and ultimately end up dead. Plastic is not biodegradable and when these plastics end up in the ocean they pollute the water. They also start leaching their harmful chemicals into the ocean.
While plastic consumption and disposal is one very evident cause of this garbage patch, another reason is the currents in the ocean. Between San Francisco and Hawaii, there is a convergence of two different ocean currents. These currents are responsible for carrying all the debris that has been carelessly tossed into the ocean. The convergence resulted in the creation of the North Pacific Gyre, which now is the great pacific garbage patch.
While fixing and cleaning up this humongous garbage patch seems like a mountain task ahead (although there are people trying to figure out the solution for this), there are steps that we can take in our day to day lives to prevent adding to it and also prevent the formation of newer garbage patches in other parts of our oceans.
1. Control the usage of single-use disposable items in your life.
2. Make sure you reuse as much as possible, before you even consider recycling.
3. Read up about types of plastics and get more informed on recycling practices.
4. Swap regular plastic iem that you use daily for more sustainable options.
5. Take part in beach cleanups and even try your hand at organizing one with our friends and family.
6. Spread as much awareness as you possibly can.
7. Cut loops of plastic items. Even if they do end up in the ocean, marine life does not have to die a painful death.
In conclusion, the damage to our oceans has been done, and are almost irreversible. But we should continue to make sure that the situation is not worsened by our selfish and foolish choices. The power is in our hands to make smart decisions that benefit the planet and all forms of life.
About Plastic Collectors : Plastic Collectors is an initiative by a group of dedicated people all over the world who are working towards a plastic free world. They make sure that plastic strewn about on the streets and beaches don’t end up in the oceans. They do this by motivating people to recycle plastic waste around them, and they provide monetary rewards and remuneration in return. You can join the cause now, or learn more about how you can help.