Engl 1121 Section 30
February 18, 2017
Plastic Kills: The Effects of the Great Pacific Garage Patch on Sea Life More than 750,000 pieces of microplastic can be found in just one square kilometer of it. Approximately 80 percent of its debris comes from land, 10 percent is made up of over 700,000 tons of commercial fishing nets, and the remaining 10 percent consists miscellaneous objects discarded by recreational and commercial ships. What is it? The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The garbage patch lies in the Pacific Ocean between the west coasts of America and the East coasts of Asia. Because the effects on marine life caused by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are detrimental to their habitat, diet, and…show more content… Sea life can mistake plastic, inedible, objects for food. Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, which is one of their favorite foods, and quickly die (Geographic). Resin pellets, which are used to make just about anything plastic, are often mistaken for food, especially due to the resemblance with fish eggs. Ingesting hard plastics can easily become lodged in an animal’s intestines or stomach and cause a slow and painful death. These marine animals do not know better than to eat what looks like food, it is not their responsibility to avoid the garbage.
The garbage in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t only harmful to the aquatic animals that live inside it, but to the surrounding marine life as well. Several birds who depend upon fishing as their source of food are in just as much danger as the fish who live in the water. As Katherine Cooney, from the New York Times, states, “An Environmental Protection Agency study showed that the chicks that died of those causes had twice as much plastic in their stomachs. Bottle caps, combs, golf tees, toothbrushes and even toy soldiers were found inside the birds.” Cooney is trying to show that the death of these innocent birds is undeniably due to the plastic found in their bodies. An approximated 200,000 of the 500,000 chicks born there each year died from dehydration and starvation (Cooney).
Lost fishing gear in the ocean is also a big culprit to the death of many sea animals. “Ghost fishing” is a cause