Tag Archives: Marine Garbage Patches

The Secret Of Marine Garbage Patches

The ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is a wandering ‘soup’ of plastic waste which is believed to cover an area twice the size of the continental United States. The garbage originates from different sources: Some of it is shaken off oil platforms and ships, whereas much of the waste originates from land. The mass includes plastic items that will not rot down, such as toys, toothbrushes, carrier bags and cigarette lighters, to call but a few.

This mass of waste is devastating to marine life. Sea birds error the plastic items for food, and many such items have actually been discovered in the bellies of dead birds. According to the paper The Independent, it is estimated that plastic particles accounts for the death of one million seabirds each year, along with even more than 100,000 marine creatures. The plastic pieces do not break down, however, just break up into smaller and smaller pieces until ingested by sea creatures. This will unavoidably get in the food cycle as seafood is consumed by humans.

Widening The Marine Garbage Patches Discussion

Plastic just breaks down into smaller sized and smaller pieces after the sunshine, time and the erosion caused by wave action have worked upon it. These smaller pieces can quickly be ingested entire by marine animals. The tiniest little bits of plastic get eaten by plankton feeders and the big items, including plastic bags, get ingested by whales, seabirds and turtles. Every year, countless these marine animals are being eliminated by plastic that they have eaten and cannot digest or pass through them.

According to The Daily Mail newspaper, a team of Dutch scientists plan to transform the big mass of drifting debris into a habitable island, the size of Hawaii. If the plans go on, the island will be big enough to house 500,000 occupants, who will certainly utilize solar and wave energy and potential wind power, in order to sustain themselves.

The official website, Recycled Island, explains additional how this transformation will certainly be accomplished. The scientists plan to separate the plastics, shred them, melt them and turn them into hollow, floating blocks that will form the basis of the land mass, along with recycled plastic buildings. These processes will certainly all be completed in the afflicted area itself, to reduce the need for transport.

The scientists prepare to construct an urban area, in addition to a huge agricultural area, so that the island can be self adequate. The island will depend on human waste composting to help attain this. The islanders will likewise make use of seaweed as a way, a fertilizer and a biofuel soak up C02.

The Recycled Island Website points out an existing island, Spiral Island, as an example of a way to recycle plastic into a land mass. Spiral island was an island on the coastline of Mexico, built on a base of plastic bottles. The island was ruined by Hurricane Emily in 2005.

The website also makes use of the ‘Plastiki’ as an example of exactly what can be accomplished by reusing plastic waste. The Plastiki is a 20m catamaran made completely from recycled plastic bottles and other plastic waste.

Whether this idea supplies a real solution to the ever growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch stays to be seen.

Exploring Marine Garbage Patches

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so big it has actually been estimated to be over twice the size of the continental United States and can be seen from space. Garbage collects in this area of the Pacific due to a system of very little wind and slow-moving currents known as the North Pacific subtropical gyre.

The plastic now caught in the patch has actually gathered gradually through several years from particles thrown or washed to the sea from the surrounding shorelines and from passing ships. This is garbage coming from every country in the North Pacific basin from North America to East Asia to Australia. The garbage is drawn to exactly what is referred to as the Northern Pacific Gyre, a system of currents in the northern Pacific, injected the center of the big vortex, and caught there by the peripheral distributing currents.

Controversial Marine Garbage Patches?

Trash is not confined to land, nor garbage dumps any longer. The oceans have actually ended up being waste dumps for refuse, and unless people act the trouble is just going to aggravate. The Ocean Conservancy works not just to tidy up the trash left by people, but to highlight the troubles dealing with waterways today. ‘Marine litter is among the most pervasive and understandable pollution issues afflicting the world’s waterways and oceans’, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Recently marine particles have converted from largely organic materials to primary synthetic substances. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch consists of products as huge as kayaks, 2 footballs, rubber duckies, Frisbees, and Lagos, to plastic bottles, plastic bags, and small plastic designs, the raw materials utilized to make all things plastic. They can float on the water and travel long distances with the ocean currents because plastics are light-weight and buoyant. Ninety percent of the litter in the garbage patch is plastic, and it is estimated to extend up to 100 feet below the surface of the water. The plastic is so pervasive, it exceeds the plankton six to one.

You simply can’t ignore the logic.

It has actually been approximated that millions of sea animals, from marine creatures to sea turtles to birds, die yearly from ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in trash. On Midway Atoll, almost half of the albatross chicks born every year die. A research by the U. S. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the chicks that died from malnourishment or dehydration had two times as much plastic in their bellies compared with chicks who died for other factors (‘Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas.’ L.a Times. Kenneth Weiss. August 2006.). Dead chick carcasses expose bellies full of trash, consisting of bottle caps, highlighter pens, fishing line and small Styrofoam balls. Biologist John Klavitter estimates that albatross on Midway feed their young about five tons of plastic each year.

More About Marine Garbage Patches

The benefit of disposable plastic makes it a widespread element in society. Containers, product packaging, toys, item cases, and household materials are made from plastic. Products that used to be made from wood or metal are now made of plastic. In 2001, the average American consumed 223 pounds of plastic, and that number is expected to increase to 326 pounds by the end of 2010 – a hundred pound increase in just 10 years. As a growing trouble, the option should be multi-faceted. Consumers can begin by demanding retailers utilize less product packaging with their products through sensible purchases, and by enacting the three R’s: minimize, recycle and recycle. Twenty-six percent of marine particles gathered in the 23rd International Coastal Cleanup included plastic bags, plastic bottles, and caps. Using non-disposable refillable water bottles and reusable shopping bags, one 4th of the marine litter could potentially be gotten rid of if everyone did the same.

Marine Garbage Patches – Profiled

All plastic items are made from petrochemicals. As the name implies, a major component in petrochemicals is OIL.

According to Greenpeace, of the 25 billion pounds of plastic the United States produces each year just 1 billion is recycled. Though many plastics can be recycled in principle, in practice sorting it into different categories is too labor extensive to be feasible. Numerous complicated items like mobile phone and computers have numerous different plastic parts that ironing out the various kinds would be too costly.

While plastic can be reused its not a cut and dry procedure. Reusing petrochemical resins or plastics is both a pricey and challenging procedure. When plastic is recycled post-consumer they are generally’ every.’ When a plastic food container is every it is recycled, but it will never qualify as food grade plastic again. Each time the plastic is downcycled some degree of value is lost. If any product needs downcycling it should not be thought about a sustainable choice.

Broader Discussion on Marine Garbage Patches

Any recycling choice is better the creating waste. According to SIGG, ‘Over 100 million plastic canteen are unloaded into America’s garbage dumps– ever day!’ By the end of each year we reach a marvelous total of almost 40 billion plastic bottles. If each piece of plastic takes 1,000 years to the rate, not the rate, it seems we are producing waste as an impossible to maintain rate. To compound the concern these numbers represent ‘water bottles’ which are simply a part of our bigger plastic addiction.

Unlike many other products, plastic does not biodegrade – instead it photodegrades. As plastic photodegrades it breaks down into smaller sized and smaller sized pieces of plastic instead of splitting into easier compounds. With so much plastic in our ocean the small bits of plastic developed with nodules are called mermaid tears or nodules.

Investigating More About Marine Garbage Patches

Unlike naturally occurring substances, plastic does not photo-degrade, it just breaks up into ever-smaller pieces and lingers in the environment as an invisible toxic dust.

Unlike normally taking place compounds, plastic does not bio-degrade, it merely separates into ever-smaller pieces and sticks around in the environment as an invisible hazardous dust.

In short, it stays around FOREVER. That’s 200,000,000 heaps each year that we can’t do away with, ever. Is that a trouble? Depend upon whether or not you’re interested in the continuation of life on this earth. If you are, and I seriously wish so, please keep reading.

Near 20 % of disposed of plastic ends up in the sea. There is an area understood formally as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the Eastern Garbage Patch. It is 1,000 miles west of San Francisco, a swirling mass of plastic in an area two times the size of Texas. A research study by the United Nations Environmental Program estimates that in this area there are 46,000 drifting pieces of plastic for each square mile of ocean and the garbage now distributes to a depth of 30 meters.

When the main section of the Garbage Patch wanders over the Hawaiian Islands, Waimanalo Beach on Oahu is covered with blue-green plastic sand while Midway Atoll – a significant rookery for albatross – is now a PERMANENT garbage heap. Greenpeace approximates that a million seabirds a year pass away from plastic consumption, many of them chicks that have starved to death with stomachs filled with plastic cigarette lighters, toy soldiers and bottle caps. About 100,000 marine creatures also die. Sea turtles moving past the Garbage Patch do not understand the difference between a floating jellyfish and a floating plastic bag and frequently consume plastic bags. Experts who study the Rubbish Vortex state there is little we can do to clean it up. Most of what is now there will ultimately sink to the ocean floor where it will seriously disrupt ocean environments.

It has actually been estimated that millions of sea animals, from marine creatures to sea turtles to birds, pass away yearly from consuming plastic or becoming entangled in garbage. On Midway Atoll, almost half of the albatross chicks born every year die. A study by the U. S. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the chicks that died from malnourishment or dehydration had two times as much plastic in their tummies compared with chicks who craved other reasons (‘Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas.’ L.a Times. Kenneth Weiss. August 2006.). Dead chick carcasses disclose bellies loaded with trash, including bottle caps, highlighter pens, fishing line and little Styrofoam balls. Biologist John Klavitter approximates that albatross on Midway feed their young around five lots of plastic each year.

Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, took a trip over 100 km at random lengths in the North Pacific Gyre gathering samples of seawater. When the samples were examined he uncovered that. there is six times more plastic by weight in this area than there is naturally happening plankton. Since they are consuming mostly plastic instead of plankton, fish and birds that feed on plankton are now dying of malnourishment.

Ocean Garbage Patches: In recent years, researchers have discovered that debris in the seas builds up in a gyre of currents, creating what is frequently referred to as ‘garbage patches,’ but might be more properly called ‘plastic soup.’ In 1999, Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) creator, Captain Charles Moore, found the accumulation of confetti-sized littles plastic and miscellaneous other refuse in the “North Pacific subtropical gyre, now typically referred to as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch'” (algalita.org). The eastern part of the gyre, AMRF’s initial study area, has to do with two times the size of Texas. Moore’s team has taken samples from countless miles of ocean, and each of them has actually consisted of plastic. This is a major danger to the fish, birds, and other marine creatures that eat this poisonous garbage, in addition to a possible hazard to the people that eat them.

Scientists who study the issue state, there is no option other than to lower our use of plastic. It is crucial that we do so in order to guarantee the continuation of life on our world. This is not an exaggeration, we MUST stop poisoning our environment. Each time we discard plastic items, we are possibly sentencing sea animals and other wildlife to fatality.

Real Marine Garbage Patches

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii that has a large number of plastic debris. It is something more than a ‘patch’. The debris area is twice the size of Hawaii. Where one defines the edge of the patch is founded on what is considered ‘elevated’ levels of plastics and debris. Some say the patch is hundreds of square miles and can be twice the area of Texas.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is likewise known as Pacific Trash Vortex and it’s also referred to as Eastern Garbage Patch. This is because the garbage comes from the two sides of the Pacific Ocean. The floating garbage debris consists of six-pack rings, balloons, drinking cups, broken pieces of toys, plastic bags, and so on.


The plastics and marine debris accumulate in this area, owing to the ocean currents of the North Pacific Gyre forming a subtropical convergence zone. An ocean gyre is large system of rotating ocean currents. The North Pacific Gyre is either of the five major ocean gyre in the world. Its clockwise currents circle the Pacific ocean running down the California coast.

The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre is one of five oceanic gyres, massive vortexes in the open ocean that are caused by wind-driven surface currents. The North Pacific Gyre is formed by four ocean currents: the North Pacific Current, North Equatorial Current, Kuroshio or Japan Current, and California Current. Flowing clockwise, these currents create an enormous circle in the sea between the west side of the US and Japan. Varying in width and depth, the speed of these currents ranges from one to 4 km/hour.

The problem has become so bad that there are picture of carcasses of Albatross and other seabirds with stomachs filled with bottle caps and other plastics. The birds mistake the tiny bits of plastics as food and ingest them. Birds have starved to death because their digestive tracts has been stuffed with non-digestible plastics. Sea turtles also ingest the plastic. Some disturbing images are in the tape on the law of a presentation at the TED conference.

Plastic bags get eaten by turtles, sea birds and whales that mistake them for marine creatures. They are unable to digest them or pass them through themselves and often die. Albatrosses, many species of whom are already endangered, collect floating plastic garbage they mistake for squid and sea creatures and feed these items to their hungry chicks. The baby birds stomachs get full of plastic and having no place for real food they starve and die. When plastic gets thrown away and not recycled this is what may happen when it reaches the sea.

Not only does this affect marine life, it affects us. Because plastics absorb pollutants like PCB and DDT, these pollutants can accumulated in animal tissues and possibly ascend the food chain into the fish that we eat.

In some areas, there is a 6 times more plastic than plankton by weight. There can be up to half a pound of garbage, for every 100 square meter. That amounts to 3 million tons of plastic there.

It is estimated that only 20 per cent of it come from vessels in the ocean. The rest must have been bits and pieces that have blown off garbage trucks, went through storms drains, into the rivers, and that’s where it ends up. Ocean currents are such that floatsom congrugates in that area.

Watch what goes into the storm drains-People who leave near the ocean or a river or stream that ultimately drains into the ocean should be aware of the fact that whatever trash that goes into the storm drains ends up washing out into the sea.

Plastic biodegrade at such slow rates that it’s hardly significant. They just disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces. What about clean up? Trying to scoop all these tiny pieces of plastic (some too weak to be seen) is expensive. It is best to put an end to the plastic at its source and not allow them get into the storm drains and rivers in the former place.

Unlike many other materials plastic doesn’t biodegrade-instead it photodegrades. As plastic photodegrades it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic instead of splitting into simpler compounds. With so much plastic in our ocean the small bits of plastic created through photodegradation are called mermaid tears or nurdles.

The film Tapped which is about the problems of bottled water also makes mention the North Pacific Gyre and shows some water sample from it. It also shows a beach whose sand have intermixed bits of plastic in it.

Because the plastic debris is slightly below the ocean surface, it can not be considered in satellite photos, but you can watch it if you sail through it.

Captain Charles Moore encountered this patch of ocean debris in 1997 when sailing between Honolulu and California. He later formed the Algalita Marin Research Foundation dedicated to preserving the marine environment through education of the public. Moore made a presentation at the TED conference showing the world the problem. Video on the right.

The problem of trash in the seas isn’t limited to the North Pacific; debris is found in the world’s oceans. National and international conventions and agreements have been taken to reduce the number of plastic debris that ends up in the marine environment. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is investigating potential cleanup strategies. Many organizations are devoted to restoring the oceans, including the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, the Environmental Cleanup Coalition, and the Ocean Conservancy.

Even before Moore first ran into it, a paper published by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1988 reported high plastic density in area in the Japan Sea. From this, scientist believed that based on ocean current movements that similar concentration of plastic would occur in the North Pacific Gyre as well.

Thomas Morton went along and wrote a good descriptive article with pictures of what he saw during one of Moore’s regular trips to the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Moore described what he found in an email published on the HuffingtonPost when he came back in 2009.

To raise consciousness of the problem, adventure ecologist David de Rothschild built a 60-foot catamaran named Plastiki made completely out of plastics. In 2010, they set sail from San Francisco to go right through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and land in Syndey. For buoyancy the boat uses 12, 500 of the 2-liter soda/water bottles.

It is a completely ‘green environmental’ boat made from self-reinforced polyethylene terephthalate (SR-PET) which represents a new plastic that is derived from recycled plastic. In this way, after the journey the boat can be grounded up and turned back into recyclable plastic bottles.

The boat is powered completely by renewable energy such as wind, water turbine, bike, and solar. There is even a small garden on the boat.

Toxins in plastic are entering the food chain, causing obesity, sterility, and worse. Find out more at Men’s Health.