Great Pacific Garbage Patch


The unaltered stomach contents of a dead albatross chick photographed on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific in September 2009 include plastic marine debris fed the chick by its parents. (Chris Jordan)

Riley Seward, Writer

 I want everyone to know we are violating the planet, by throwing trash in the ocean, and that we are killing the marine life in the oceans. I think everyone should help our planet and animals and I hope everyone will learn to understand that throwing trash in the ocean doesn’t help our planet. 

When animals see this garbage they mistake some of this trash for food. Like turtles, one of the turtles common food they eat is jellyfish. They mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, so when the plastic bag is ingested the turtles guts will be blocked.

Sea birds also search for food in the ocean, when seabirds eat this plastic it causes the seabird to think they aren’t hungry anymore and they began to starve.

Seals will be swimming, minding their own business, and will get stuck in a net and not be able to get out. This will cause the seals to starve because they have no access to food and sometimes seals can’t get to the surface to breathe.

Even though we know that dolphins are intelligent animals and are likely not to eat plastic, but when the dolphins  prey ingest plastic, and the dolphins don’t know, and eats its prey the plastic will affect the dolphin.

This debris in the ocean can also affect marine life habitats, like coral reefs, by breaking or being smothering.

 Plastic is harmful to humans too, even though we know not to eat plastic, there are some of us who eat fish. Fish that have ingested plastic may be eaten by humans and even though we cut our fish and then cook it there may be tiny pieces of plastic that can not be seen with the naked eye.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore. It was created by circulating currents of the North Pacific Gyre. 46% of the trash in the ocean is made out of fishing gear and 20% of this debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. 

There was a study about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a team found 10% of the fish studied had ingested plastic. This team also saw that fish had been laying there eggs on plastic bits instead of seashells and wood, this has become a concern.

All of this plastic floats between Hawaii and California and it is twice the size of Texas. Trash ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage patch by rivers, streams, or any other water way that can lead to the ocean. We have managed to make this big monster in only half a century. Plastic breaks up into smaller pieces when they met the sun, called micro plastics, about the size of your fingernail that can not be seen with naked eye

Did you know we have 400 billion stars in the Milky Way while there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and each year the ocean gets about 8 million tons more pieces of plastic added to it, this plastic spreads out to the other garbage patches.

There are 5 garbage patches, but the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the biggest and they connect like highways. One patch may be in colder water and one patch may be in hotter water, so where the two types of water connect are like highways that the debris uses to move from patch to another.

Sometimes plastic in the ocean will get so big that it all gathers and it looks like a big iceberg, especially the Great Garbage Patch in the colder parts of the ocean.

Few people, like Boyan Slat, are planning to stop the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Boyan Slat saw the Great Pacific Garbage Patch when he was 16 and he was driving in Greece and noticed he was seeing more plastic than fish in the ocean. He started doing something about it when he was 19, Boyan planned to have plastic free oceans by 2050. Boyan Slat is planning to collect half of this monster in 5 years. He is putting out floating barriers to gather all of the trash.

Hopefully Boyan Slat’s plan will work and that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will completely gone by 2050. If this works than maybe Boyan will go and get rid of all the other garbage patches in the ocean.

This is important why we use our three R’s, reduce, reuse, and recycle, hopefully you know of these, so that our trash does not end up in the ocean and harm the marine life and their habitats.

Now that you know how we are violating our planet by throwing trash in the ocean and harming animals, I hope you understand that this is how we are violating our planet and we need to stop…IMMEDIATELY!