Great you are looking for facts about Garbage Patches. Please read the introduction if you like to know more about the phenomena of Garbage Patches.
Let’s start with some impressive facts:
- Garbage Island will likely double in size in the next ten years according Charles Moore (scientist).
- Scientist found plastic in 9% of ‘Garbage Patch’ fishes
- General plastic facts:
- 7 billion pounds of non recyclable plastic are produced every year
- Scientific research showed that the chemicals in plastic have been found in people living on Americas, Europe and Asia. This leads in some occasions in limited or no possibility to reproduce (make babies)
- 7% of the plastic in the U.S. is recycled
If you are new to the subject, the following summary is made for you
There are many places polluted by garbage. Especially plastic is a major contributor because it is not biodegradable. Over time plastic breaks down in small particles of just a few millimeter. These small items of plastic is what people refer to if they mention garbage patches or islands. The best way of visualizing The great Pacific Garbage Patch is to imagine a big soup floating in the ocean like oil does. Areas that contain the largest numbers of plastic are the ocean gyres. These are large systems of moving ocean currents. In a systematic drawing you would see that the water is circulating like a vortex. All garbage automatically goes to the middle and stays floating there.
Our planet has five major ocean gyres:
- Indian Ocean Gyre which contains the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch
- North Atlantic Gyre, which contains the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, equal to the North Pacific Garbage Patch
- North Pacific Gyre, for more facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, please see below.
- South Atlantic Gyre
- South Pacific Gyre
An other know garbage patch can be found in the Mediterranean Sea. Some facts about the Mediterranean Sea Garbage Patch:
- 250 billion pieces of plastic
- Equal to almost 500 tonnes of trash.
- Most of the plastic particles found were microscopic, each weighing 1.8 milligrams or less
- These particles of micro-debris are smaller than 5 millimeters in size and are often missed in coast clean-ups.
Here are the basic facts about the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch;
- 7 million tons of weight
- Twice the size of Texas
- Up to 9 feet deep
- In the Great Pacific Ocean Gyre there is 6 times more plastic than plankton, which the main food for many ocean animals
- By estimation 80% of the plastic originates from land; floating in rivers to the ocean or blew by the wind into the ocean
- The remaining 20% of the plastic originates from oil platforms and ships
- According scientist it is the largest plastic dump on earth; so plastic patches are larger than waste dumps on land
- Trash patches consist for 80 percent out of plastic
- Scientific research from the Scrips Institution of Oceanography in California U.S. shows that 5 to 10% of the fish contain small pieces of plastic.
Further reading that might be interesting for you:
- http://garbagepatch.net/online-resources/ (great start if you like to write something about this topic)
- http://garbagepatch.net/solutions-what-can-you-do/ (please post here your ideas and comments about cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and solving other plastic pollution issues.
- http://garbagepatch.net/papers/ (if you wrote something from small to large, please share it here, and/or leave a thank you note)
If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below. If you have an additional fact or facts that you would like to share here; please share! Which fact from the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch or plastic do you think is most shocking?