The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

East and west of where diverging currents meet in the subtropical convergence zone, two islands of plastic have formed from an enormous vortex of plastic trash, rightfully named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The eastern garbage patch, located between Hawaii and the United States is causing havoc for the ocean and the marine animals living in it. The majority of the trash caught in the gyre is plastic, and accumulates because it is not biodegradable. Rather than wearing down, the debris breaks into smaller pieces in a never ending cycle turning the ocean surrounding the patch into a cloudy soup of micro plastics. On an expedition to survey the area of the eastern patch, researchers found more garbage at the edge of the gyre than they had expected to see at the center along with more than 1,000 large plastic objects. Julia Reisser, an oceanographer part of The Ocean Cleanup group said the eastern Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the worst polluted area she had ever seen.

pacific_ocean_garbage_patch_by_artlife1-d4x0nhi

With the new found urgency of the problem, The Ocean Cleanup organization soon hopes to begin the largest ocean clean up in history. To combat the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a young engineer, Boyan Slat has devised a plan that could remove almost half of the eastern patch by 2020. The technology takes an underwater V-shaped barrier and works with the ocean’s natural currents to bring the trash into a consolidated pile 100,000 times more concentrated than the current trash island, making it easier to collect and dispose of [1]. Not only will this massive clean up help purify the water in the Pacific Ocean, it will reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way to the beaches and reefs of near-by islands and coasts. For more information on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, please visit: http://nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

 

[1] Chris D’Angelo, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Even Worse Than We Feared,” Huffington Post Online (The Huffington Post), October 3, 2016

~photo courtesy of Deviant Art contributor, Artlife1. ©2012-2016 ArtLife1