Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Feb 17, 2016 | written by:

It is a big collection of floating garbage in the North Pacific Ocean and it is known as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch'. Its origin is due to the action of the ocean current 'North Pacific Subtropical Gyre' that, with a spiral motion, attracts and traps the waste inside. Nobody knows exactly how much dirt contains this huge marine trash but one thing is clear: about 80% of the debris comes from land-based activities while the remaining 20% comes from boaters, oil platforms, fallen containers and large cargo ships that dump directly into the water.

Most of this trash is not biodegradable and it is composed of plastics which break into tinier and tinier pieces without wearing down ever. Marine debris are very harmful: the plastic particles, mistaken for food, are ingested by animals who either die or introduce plastics in the food web, marine mammals can get entangled in fishing nets and drown and finally the garbage on the surface blocks sunlight preventing normal growth of plankton and algae, fundamental elements of the marine food web. These dangers are compounded by the fact that plastic releases harmful pollutants that cause environmental problems.

Because the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' is so far from any country's coastline, no nation takes responsibility but many people agree that limiting or eliminating the use of plastics in favor of biodegradable resources will be the best way to clean up the ocean.

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