The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Plastic pollution plays a vital role in world pollution levels. Consumption of Plastics pollutes land, oceans, even air. Plastic pollution creates gigantic landfills which are not biodegradable. Also, not all the plastics reach those landfills, a number of used plastics are thrown away into the rivers and lakes. Numerous steps are taken by the government and by social helping groups to reduce the plastics on earth. Still, it remains everywhere on the earth. Plastics are manufactured by humans, used by humans, and also thrown away by humans. But it affects all the living organisms in the world including plants. Exclusively sea creatures consume plastics by imagining that as their food.
Usage of plastics increased tremendously among humans. For instance, it starts from an early morning brush which is made of plastics till the plastic bottle to drink some water at night in between so many other commonly used things that all are made up of plastics. Now the problem arises in the disposal of those plastics.
Plastic litters have to be disposed of separately and should be sent for proper recycling. One-use plastics or soft plastics that can’t be recycled are used to wrap biscuits, bread, milk, and so on. Though the government banned thin plastics, people are packing and selling their products in those low-density plastic bags which are not fit for recycling. Plastics are majorly categorized into seven common types that are eligible for recycling.
Usage of plastics is increasing 10% each year worldwide. But awareness about disposing of used plastics is very poor. However, plastics are reliable to use only when the process of disposal is followed strictly everywhere. As the disposal of plastics is not done properly those pollutants create an extremely negative impact on the environment. Mainly when the plastics are carried by rivers and enter into the oceans that would be life-threatening for aquatic creatures and create permanent ecological damage.
Microplastics are plastics that are smaller than 5 millimeters long that are highly hazardous for millions of aquatic animals which live in oceans. When the rivers end up in the ocean, along with the water, plastic debris also enters the ocean in an enormous quantity. That plastic garbage that is less than 5 millimeters long is called microplastics. When the sun rays hit the plastics, a chemical reaction occurs. The plastics break down into smaller pieces and that’s how the microplastics are formed.
Microplastics are highly dangerous for all living organisms. Aquatic animals swallow these microplastics and die in large numbers. Microplastics can still be broken down into smaller pieces called nano plastics which could get into fish muscles and tissues. Nano plastic enters the human body through seafood and sea salt. It affects human hormones and irregulates the digestive system.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of large amounts of scattered pieces of rubbish and an exclusive collection of plastics. It lies in the North Pacific ocean where tonnes of plastic gathered for years. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 46 percent of the total mass is occupied by fishing gear. Gradually marine debris moved together and accumulated as patches by ocean currents called Gyre. Gyre is a process where it makes the ocean water move in a circular motion which is caused by Coriolis Effect. There are five gyres in the ocean, two in the Pacific Ocean, two in Ocean current is the source of cause for this collection of trash as a patch.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch technically comprises two patches, the western garbage patch lies near Japan and the eastern garbage patch lies between San Francisco and Hawaii. People are entirely responsible for this plastic island which becomes a major threat to marine and other organisms too. The plastics which are used inland is the source and the reason for these garbage patches in the ocean. Plastics are non-biodegradable so the problem remains and also increased in numbers as the usage of plastic still continues inland. These plastics are photodegradable once it is exposed to UV rays and changes their color over time and also breaks down into tiny particles.
What can I do about this issue?
Researchers found that if usage of thin plastics is utterly reduced or literally stopped by replacing biodegradable materials there is a chance to control the accumulation of plastics in oceans. The garbage patch which exists around the oceans can’t possibly be cleaned in a day or even a year. The most effective way to address this problem is to quit fueling plastic garbage into the ocean. Though many non-profit organizations like the ocean clean-up took the challenge to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We can support them by donations or by creating awareness. More than that as responsible humans we have to contribute to maintaining a healthy environment. Contribution no need to be done by donating money that has to start from your home.
- Don’t get one-use plastics from the vendors if you buy any items.
- Always carry a bag with you when you are out for purchase.
- Clean around your house.
- Have a separate bin for plastic trash and be aware of recycling the plastics.
- Carry a water bottle wherever you go instead of buying bottled water.
These are smaller changes we can do as rent for using and being on the earth.