The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of 5 major ocean regions devastated by enormous amounts of trash and is believed to be the world’s largest landfill estimated at 2 times the size of Texas. It consists of two vortexes of garbage collected by ocean currents. This gigantic accumulation of plastic was discovered by Charles Moore 13 years ago in 1997 when he was returning from a yacht race and decided to sale through the North Pacific Gyre.

trash-vortex

“As I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean. I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic. It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.”
- Charles Moore

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The North Pacific Gyre is the largest ecosystem on earth and has been immensely effected by this garbage patch.

What's it made out of?

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Disposable plastic is the culprit.

April 02, 2008 Long Beach, California   Marine researcher Charles Moore holds an ocean water sample with debris from the Single use, toss away, one-time plastic is fulfilling 5 minutes of purpose before becoming useless and incredibly harmful garbage for hundreds of years. Disposable plastic makes up 90% of the garbage in the oceans. This includes plastic bags, bottle caps, disposable water bottles, and styrofoam.   Plastic never biodegrades into another substance. Plastic will always, always be plastic. Instead it photodegrades, it breaks down to smaller fragments in the presence of sunlight. It takes about 500-1000 years for plastic to photodegrade.

The Great Pacific garbage patch isn't visible from satellites because it consists of tiny pieces of plastic that have photo degenerated. Most of this plastic has become so small that it is invisible to the human eye. A great deal of it has become a similar size as to phytoplankton, which is the foundation of the marine food chain. Filter feeders from small fish to whales are mistaking the plastic for plankton and eating it. Larger fish who eat many of the smaller fish are getting all of the plastic from the smaller fish because their bodies cannot process plastic out. This leads to bioaccumulation of plastic and increasingly toxic animals as you move up the food chain (this is called biomagnification). As a result of biomagnification some whales and dolphins are even labeled as toxic waste. biomagnification in the food chain

200959324180% off all garbage in the ocean has come from land.
Because sea level is lower then land elevation; wind, rain and other types of weather can easily take lightweight plastic into bodies of water that’ll carry them into the ocean. 

 

Effect on wild lifego8f4013-copy

Plastic is being consumed by animals who mistaken it for food

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Bottle caps and lighters for birds and plastic bags and balloons for turtles (who eat jellyfish, which plastic bags and balloons look like in the water) are the most commonly ingested items. 

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“A turtle found dead in Hawaii had over a thousand pieces of plastic in its stomach and intestines. It has been estimated that over a million sea birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement."
- Greenpeace

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Effect on Us

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is just one of many examples of how we are abusing our resources and destroying our planet. Since plastic and toxic chemicals from plastic are finding their way into the ocean’s food chain, we’re finding them on our dinner plates and in our bodies. Our body processes these plastics the same way it processes fat. Plastic is stored on the body as energy and when we loose fat the concentration of plastic increases because the concentration of fat decreased. Scientist are constantly discovering how toxins from plastics are disrupting the natural functioning of our bodies and the heath risks that are a product of it. Mothers producing milk, which is essentially fat, are transferring the toxins from her body to her child’s through her milk. 

Plastic toxicity is also said to be linked with obesity, birth defects, cancers, immune system suppression and developmental problems in the young.

The ocean also has a huge effect on our weather, temperature and overall climate and these effects could turn violently negative if we continue to consume and discarded at the rate we are now. Cleaning up the ocean manually is out of financial reach and could cause unpredictable damage to wildlife.

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Together the 5 garbage patches cover 40% of our oceans

If you don’t think our lifestyle is having an impact on our planet, your denial won’t save you from the consequences. Think of all the inorganic waste you produce, every day, every week, every month, every year, All of that waste is still right here on earth. We need to stop the build up and start the clean up by changing our unsustainable practises in our everyday life. Small changes in our day-to-day routine build up, just as bioaccumulation and bio-magnification build up and make a massive difference.

sources: national geographic / wikipedia / greenpeace / newint.org / factmonster.com / savemyoceans.com / ecology.com / sciencedaily.com

21 comments :

AliciaKara said...

Amazing blog! Your truly brilliant at what you do :)

Would make my day if you could follow back?

www.aliciakarastyle.blogspot.com

x

Alice Gu said...

Have you seen the Story of Stuff? It's a really amazing blunt documentary on literally our stuff: where it comes from, what it actually costs to make the stuff, why we pay such a low price, etc. Brings consumerism in a very different light.

http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/

I think they have one on cosmetics too. As a masters of public health student, this is what I've been thinking about lately lol

Thanks for the telling post!

Mrs. Lee said...

Great post full of information about what we and sea creatures face everyday now. Real eye opener for sure! I am really bad about drinking from a plastic water bottles, but I do recycle them...you just reminded me to refill my Brita Pitcher...:).

xx,
mrslee-flabtofab.blogspot.com

lexi said...

gross. makes me want to watch a documentary though, love documentaries : ) haha

Rinny said...

This was a very eye opening read. You hear about the effects of overpollution from plastics and landfills, but you don't really realize the extent of the damage we've done until you see pictures like this.

IceCreamBun said...

Damn me for being one of those garbage throwers..

nicki fanning said...

What a great post, it is truly horrendous, what we are doing to the planet, and if every person made 1 small effort everyday could really make a difference but sadly most people don't care. i'm always on at people to try, but just end up sounding like a moaner, thats why the internet is so powerful for spreading the word. i'm getting back to blogging if you want to check it outhttp://nickifanningsblog.blogspot.com/ it's about all sorts of tings, have to admit fairly superficial. Thanks for all the info. maybe we can become followers greetings from dublin Xnicki

aldara camoiras said...

hi beautiful! you have a nice blog, i follow you since now, visit my blog and follow me too if you want! ;)

xoxo

www.inspiredintheworld.blogspot.com

pompeedou said...

Great blog! Check out my octopus painting at www.sophiabuddenhagen.blogspot.com

It's a new series and I am doing several, to bring awareness of this issue! People don't really understand how bad this situation is!

♥Mishi à la mode♥ said...

omg this is crazy. I had no idea it was THIS BAD. THis post has def opened my eyes up to the issue of plastic. Ergh.. it really bothers me now. I think i'll probably ban plastic from my life as much as I can. THanks for Sharing!!!

K.Lee said...

Where have you been lately? lol.

My new domain address is:

http://kisskissbyklee.blogspot.com/

Starting New!! STill Under COnstruction!!

Not just a fitness blog anymore!! :).

Cheers!!

xx,
klee

Irene Buffa said...

these are themes that are really important to me.
nice to know u also care

www.ontomywardrobe.com

www.ontomywardrobe.com

Jess said...

wow this was really shocking. i had no idea something like this existed! it really opened my eyes..great post.

Jess x

www.3-gmui.blogspot.co.uk/

Lisina Betty said...

great post and lovely blog....!! if you want we can following each ohter...?? http://comeduegoccedacqua.blogspot.it/

Lisina Betty said...

great post and lovely blog....!! if you want we can following each ohter...?? http://comeduegoccedacqua.blogspot.it/

scenique_route said...

This is such a great and informative post! I love that your aware and caring about the Earth and it's creatures!
-Amy

http://sceniqueroute.blogspot.com/

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Nava said...

wow, even the first picture touches me right on my heart. can't believe it's an ocean covered with garbage... :( i hope you don't mind if i probably will post this too on my blog, just to spread the words :) will link to your blog as well!

anw, great blog you have, wanna follow each other? :)

Miss Sultana said...

this is heart breaking... I would assume that burning all of the trash would be one of the best preventions, but I guess not... :/ great blog btw. very informative.

http://sultanassanctuary.blogspot.com/

Pinky ♥ cup of pink tea said...

i like your blog!! so much interesting postand informations..
if you don't mind check out my blog and follow me if you like
i'll follow you

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Samantha Motilal said...

I feel soo sad to see those animals pay for the pollution that us human create. I recently read that throwing your piece of chewed gum on the ground can can pose a threat to birds since they think it's a piece of bread and they eat it and choke to death :(

Your blog is superb!
Lots of Luv from Ruth
http://tboruth.blogspot.com/