Great Pacific Garbage Patch Essay

710 words - 3 pages

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is sometimes referred to as the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch and the Pacific Trash Vortex is a floating patch of garbage that has collected in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, which is located in the middle of two high-pressure areas between Hawaii and California. The majority of the garbage, which is also called marine debris, in the patch is plastic, but items made from other materials such as glass and rubber are also present. Though the garbage patch is too large and goes too deep under the surface of the ocean for scientists to determine exactly how much garbage is in it, they have collected up to 750,000 bits of plastic one square kilometer (CITE). This sort of debris floating around in the ocean is dangerous for several reasons. One important reason is that marine animals mistake some of the garbage, especially plastics, for food (CITE). Another reason that the floating debris is so dangerous is because it can block sunlight from reaching deeper levels of the ocean, and thus, it removes the energy source for many autotrophs like algae and plankton. So far, not much has actually been done to take care of this massive problem, but several organizations have come up with ideas on how this garbage vortex can be cleaned up.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is very dangerous for the ecology of the ocean. When marine animals see debris floating around in the ocean, they often mistake it for a food source and consume it. Obviously, when they consume bigger pieces of plastic it’s a problem because they will choke on it, suffocate, die. This is especially true for turtles, “Sea turtles are prone for mistaking plastic items, particularly bags, for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods,” (CITE dailymail) this can cause suffocation, or it can block the animal’s digestive tract and cause it to eventually die of starvation. Another issue that occurs because of plastic debris in the ocean is that animals can get tangled in larger plastic objects like six-pack holders, which can also cause them to suffocate. Marine animals eating plastics isn’t only a problem for those animals, it can also be a...

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