November 12th, 2014
Also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, the great pacific garbage patch is a collection of marine debris found in the north pacific. It was made from the piling up of debris left by humans in the pacific oceans that all converged in several locations. They are linked together by the subtropical convergence zone, and bounded by the North Pacific subtropical gyre, which is a system of currents formed by wind patterns and the Earth’s rotation. The debris accumulates so much because most pieces of trash dropped in the ocean are not biodegradable, like plastic, fishing gear, shoes and other funky items that are accidentally spilled from commercial ships. The trash vortex can effect the ocean’s ecology in several ways. One, most of the debris actually sinks to the bottom of the ocean, making living conditions there nearly impossible for plant and animal life. Many sea animals have died from consuming debris thinking its food, especially Sea Turtles and Albatrosses. Other animals like seals often choke to death from plastic and fishing nets. It also affects the food web chain, as layers of debris prevent algae and plankton from producing nutrients through sunlight. For years, conservation efforts have been made to try and patch up the trash vortex, but cleaning up piles of marine trash is not as easy as it sounds. Scientists agree that reducing or eliminating our use of plastics will prevent more plastic from becoming part of the masses.
Source: National Geographic