Plastic Not So Fantastic

As the summer draws near and spring enters its final third, we all start to think about our upcoming holidays. With this in mind we thought we’d offer this ideal scenario for the perfect summer get-away:

In the North Pacific Ocean there lies an uninhabited island roughly the size of Texas. This is true. The weather can vary widely, but for the most part is either tropical or subtropical in nature. The island lies between the West coast of North America and Japan and is not far from Hawaii. The waters are warm and calm and there is an abundance of wildlife, from seals to rare turtles.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Would you like to know the name of this uninhabited paradise so you can book it for next year?

Introducing: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific Trash Vortex and no, you wouldn’t want to holiday here.

Formed over time, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of, mostly plastic, marine debris and pollution that has been gathered by the strong oceanic currents of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a system of circular ocean currents.

For instance, if waste was discarded off the coast of California in North America, it would travel south towards Mexico on the strong Californian Current. There it would meet the North Equatorial Current and travel across the Pacific. Off the coastline of Japan, the discarded waste would meet and move along the Kuroshiro Current before finally being transported west and getting caught up in the gyre which has a stable and non-moving centre where all the waste would collect.

While you would imagine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to be the largest landfill site in the world, you would also be mistaken, for the Garbage Patch, though an island, is not physically dense enough to be walked upon and is mostly made up of micro particles and micro-plastics in stasis a few feet beneath the ocean surface, making it look more like a cloudy soup.

It is still deadly however, and many marine animals including fish, turtle, seals and birds die every year as a direct result of the waste caught up in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Whilst efforts have been made to clean up the patch, all have failed as the area is too big to trawl and also no country is taking ownership (both financial and moral) of the floating island of pollution and waste.

There are measures taking place to combat the growing threat of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch such as the Plastic Pollution Coalition who campaign to reduce the amount of plastics manufactured and to raise awareness of the benefits recycling plastics can have on our immediate environment.

05/05/2015 16:40:15

by Jonny in General News

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