Overview[edit | edit source]
• What are the “garbage patches?”
• How do they form?
• Where are they? (Identify specific places…)
• How do they affect aquatic life? (generally plus describe one specific)
• Do they impact humans? How or why not?
• What can we do to fix the situation or prevent them from continuing to grow?
Essay[edit | edit source]
Garbage patches are a serious problem in the oceanic ecosystem. Even though it doesn't have a huge impact on us, it surely is catastrophic for the inhabitants of the ocean.
Garbage patches are huge piles of collected trash [from the world] that swim in the currents of the ocean. These garbage patches, after spending a good amount of time floating in the water, wash up on shores on countries/islands that are near the body of water [that they were floating on]. These garbage patches are formed by ocean currents sucking in trash from various locations. Not only from other locations [that trash is sucked from], but trash can easily drop in the ocean by ships sailing by. All this debris come together to form a Garbage Patch.
Some notable areas where Garbage Patches exist are in the Pacific Ocean (Great Pacific garbage patch), Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean garbage patch) and the Atlantic Ocean (North Atlantic garbage patch).
These Garbage Patches are extremely harmful to marine life. Most of the garbage patches are of plastic material, and as we know it today: Plastic doesn't go away! So it [plastic] will always be there, continuing to destroy and kill aquatic life. Animals might get entangled in plastic and choke to death or they might eat the plastic (mistaking it for food) and choke.
These patches can also destroy a whole food chain (in a specific part of the ocean). Some patches may contain harmful chemicals, which then chemically infect the water. When the water is chemically infected, then there is no place to live [in there]. Therefore, the infected water becomes a hazard to those that live in/around it. It kills off many smaller organisms living there, which, in turn, gives the larger creatures (who feed off of these small organisms) absolutely no food at all.
An example of this is the Albatross, [a bird] that eats anything it can find. These Albatrosses, in the Pacific Ocean, consumes the plastic that floats in the Pacific Ocean and die [due to the poison].
Not only do these concentrates of marine debris affect aquatic life, but it affects us as well (though to small degrees). The Garbage Patches affect our beaches, which (in some areas) are filled with garbage washed up on the shores by ocean currents. The patch also affects our food, such as fish and squid. These animals ingest these plastics and, therefore, get poisoned. Then we eat the poisoned animals, getting ourselves poisoned.
Some simple ways can be taken in order to prevent garbage patches from forming/growing:
- Enforce laws that prohibit the dumping of waste in the ocean
- Disallow the usage of untreated sewage to flow into the ocean
- Replace plastic bags
- Increase use of biodegradable resources
With people's efforts to protect us and aquatic life from marine debris, we can save our world from these catastrophic concentrations.
Citations[edit | edit source]
- Silverman, Jacob. "Why Is the World's Biggest Landfill in the Pacific Ocean?" HowStuffWorks Science. HowStuffWorks, 19 Sept. 2007. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
- "The Patch’s Effect on Animals and Humans." Olivia Vera. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
- Society, National Geographic. "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." National Geographic Society. N.p., 09 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.