The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

1006 Words5 Pages
Plastic If you look around your house right now, I can almost guarantee that you will see plastic somewhere. It’s used in just about everything nowadays, from your toothbrush, to the clothes on your back. In fact, without plastic life today probably wouldn’t even be possible for most of us. Plastic seems like such a great material; its strong and very durable, but it’s these traits that make plastic so harmful. Plastic to our knowledge does not biodegrade; and since nowadays it’s one of the most common materials used by man this poses a huge problem. Plastic makes up approximately 13 percent of the municipal waste stream in America, a dramatic increase from the less than one percent in 1960 (EPA). Having so much plastic waste makes one wonder, where does it all go? Well, 6.5 percent is recycled, 7.7 percent is combusted in waste-to-energy facilities, and the remaining 85.8 percent goes to landfills/waste (Cho). Of all that plastic waste, you’d be surprised how much of it ends up in the ocean. Around 80 percent of all floating waste found in the ocean is plastic (NRDC). Furthermore not all plastic floats, so the problems not just on the surface, it’s also below it. The Western Pacific Garbage Patch and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch; collectively called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is the worlds biggest ocean garbage site. It is estimated to be twice the size of texas. These garbage patches are formed in gyres (systems of rotating ocean currents) and carry marine debris all over the place. There are five major gyres in the world: the North Pacific Gyre, South Pacific Gyre, North Atlantic Gyre, South Atlantic Gyre, and finally the Indian Ocean Gyre. There is plastic in every one of these gyres, moreover, now there is plastic fou... ... middle of paper ... ...Karpus, Leah. "Plastic in Our Oceans." Natural Health & Wellness Information & Recipes. N.p., May 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. "The Pacific Ocean's Growing Plastic Problem - The Week." The Week. N.p., 11 May 2012. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. Plastic Planet. Dir. Werner Boote. Perf. Werner Boote. Netflix. N.p., 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. "Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans." NRDC:. N.p., 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. "Plastic Problem." MNN. Glick Interactive, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. "Plastics, Common Wastes & Materials." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. "THE PROBLEMS WITH PLASTICS." Ecology Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. Silverman, Jacob. "Why Is the World's Biggest Landfill in the Pacific Ocean?" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. "Why Is Plastic in the Ocean a Problem." Algalita. Algalita Marine Research Foundation, n.d. Web.
Open Document