How has the Great Pacific Garbage Patch affected marine life in the surrounding waters?

1043 Words Jun 19th, 2018 5 Pages
Recently, it has been said that an eighth continent has formed, but this is no ordinary landmass, instead it is made entirely out of manmade trash. In the Pacific Ocean, between the coast of California and the Hawaiian Islands, lies a so-called “patch” of waste, mainly consisting of plastic (Transoceanic Trash). It is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex. The patch extends over a vast area in the North Pacific Ocean, its true size today is still considered undetermined because it estimates vary greatly, no estimates are exact due to the changing wind and ocean currents, as well as the growing volume of debris (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). The trash that makes up this mass, comes from all over the …show more content…
These plastic bits are so small it is almost impossible for fish and other marine life to distinguish them between plankton, which many fish and other larger animals such as whales eat (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Many animals are consuming this trash ultimately leading to their death. For example loggerhead sea turtles it is common for them to mistake plastic grocery bags as their favorite food, which is jellyfish (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Many other larger mammals and water birds have been strangled in plastic rings that holds canned drinks together (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Many birds will commonly fly over the Pacific Garbage Patch, including the albatross, and unfortunately many mistake the garbage as food (The Great Pacific Garbage). A shocking number of 200,000 to 500,000 chicks that were born died, many of them having trash in their stomachs, not only plastics but also bottle caps and various items were found (The Great Pacific Garbage). It has been predicted that about 100,000 marine mammals will die from trash-related deaths per year, many pieces of plastic and garbage has been found in deceased animals’ digestive systems (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Rusty Brainard, working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric

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