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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Things you should know about Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2021)

Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Do you know what the size of France is? It is the largest country in Western Europe. Now when we multiply the size of France by 3, it becomes equal to the estimated size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch is filled with a tremendous amount of trash, including plastic, ghost nets, and other plastic trash. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific, having two trash zones. 

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

According to reports by National Geographic, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the North Pacific, has two trash zones where all the trash from the ocean gets accumulated. The waste of the ocean gets collected at this place due to the high energy ocean currents pulling the plastic trash from the surrounding areas of the ocean. The North Pacific Gyre has clockwise movement all over the North Pacific. 

The ocean current around the North Pacific is powerful, making it difficult for the trash to escape from the Garbage patch. The Pacific Oceans has Oyashio current in the North, and Equatorial current in the South pushes the garbage into the North Pacific Gyre. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest. Apart from this, there are four more Garbage patches in South Pacific, North and South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

Size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch size indicates how big of a problem it is for the world. As per the study of 2018, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is three times the size of France. So currently, its size will be even more significant today, which makes the problem a lot more serious than ever. The amount of plastic present in the North Pacific is 80,000 tons. The weight of the plastic is equal to the material required for making 8 Eiffel Towers.

Approximately 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic are found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; Some are bigger pieces and some microplastics. Marine animals usually confuse microplastics as food and consume them. After ingestion of plastic, any bird, fish, or animal cannot digest the plastic and eventually die.

Types of Plastic in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains different types of plastics that are causing problems to marine life. The types of plastic include Bottle caps, ghost nets, microplastics, and other basic plastic types that are the cause of death of many water animals and birds. Seabirds and Turtles usually consume bottle caps that block the animals and birds’ respiratory and digestive organs, causing death.

Ghost nets are the types of plastics that can trap fishes, birds, and different marine animals during large-scale fishing. These nets can be found in large amounts in the great pacific garbage patch and threaten marine life.

Sources of the Plastic

According to a study published in the journal Science, In 2015, it was discovered where all this garbage was coming from. It was found that the plastic was discarded from the six primary sources. The countries that dump more plastic in the sea than all other countries combined include China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. 

Out of the total worldwide plastic ocean pollution, China alone is responsible for 30% plastic pollution. 20% of the total plastic pollution in the North Pacific comes from boaters, offshore oil rigs, and dumps from large cargo ships. The majority of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is fishing nets, i.e. 705,000 tons of fishing nets cover 46% of the patch.

Some of the plastic present in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is over 50 years old. The items include plastic lighters, pens, cell phones, toothbrushes, water bottles, plastic bags, baby bottles, fishing nets and other things.

Health Impacts of Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is situated at North Pacific Gyre, and it is one of the five major ocean gyres globally. The other ocean gyres of garbage patches include Indian Ocean Gyre, North Atlantic Gyre, South Atlantic Gyre and the South Pacific Gyre. It is one of the largest and most polluted ocean patches among all the ocean gyres.

Microplastics in the Pacific Garbage Patch contain plasticizers. When the animals consume the microplastics, it can cause abnormal growth and reproductive problems. Microplastics affect the organs of animals and disrupt the endocrine system, and They can also cause disturbance of energy, lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. Also read facts about Microplastics and its harmful effects.

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