The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

2024 Words9 Pages
20 billion pounds of the world’s plastic winds up in the ocean annually. This plastic can be found swirling, covering about 40% of the world’s oceans surfaces (Center for Biological Diversity). Carried by water currents and wind combined, these man made, non-biodegradable materials have accumulated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to form the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), also known as “the world’s largest landfill.” Estimated to be twice the size of Texas, the Patch spans from the West Coast of North America to Japan (National Geographic). Often thought of as large islands of floating plastic, in reality the GPGP is an area of plastics broken down into smaller polymer molecules distributed across the ocean (Grant A Harse). This area of tiny plastic polymers raises concerns of bio magnification, animal harm, ocean pollution, and human use of plastics. Because the GPGP is so far from any country’s coastline and is difficult to track, no nation is willing to take responsibility or provide funding to clean it up. In addition to this issue, policies that already have been formed only target point source ship dumping. 80% of ocean debris come from land, so only a small percentage of waste disposal from ships is addressed (Dautel, Susan). In order create a solution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, human behaviors will have to change to reduce use and consumption of plastic and to push for urban runoff/nonpoint waste to be better addressed on the local, national, and
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