For about the past 60 years, since the invention of plastic, there has been a giant mass forming in an oceanic area known as the North Pacific Gyre. It is located about 1,000 miles west of San Francisco and 1,000 miles north of Hawaii, in the midst of the Pacific Ocean. About a one week boat ride from any land mass. Scientists have estimated that it weighs 3 million tons, covers an area twice the size of Texas, about 300 feet deep from sea level, and is comprised of fine plastic chips and other material.
It is due to a clockwise trade wind that circulates along the Pacific Rim creating a vortex that has resulted in this accumulation from all over the world. The debris is usually washed from beaches and city streets into storm drains and taken out to the ocean – only to later be carried miles into the ocean into this vortex. A size too large to be dismantled by any singular government.
Since the plastic is exposed to constant salt water and the sun’s UV rays, it becomes brittle and disintegrates into small particles, even that resembling of plastic dust.
These images are actual samples of water taken from the gyre. An apparent amount of plastic and debris lingers in it.
Among other things they have been found have been drums of oil, fishing nets, tires, and other man-made industrial and personal items. It has been estimated that the ratio of plastic to plankton is 24 to 1!!!
This severely effects our ecology and in turn out food supply. Believe it or not, a lot of people are still unaware of this posing problem – get educated!
What you can do!
* Use Seafood Watch List to guide your seafood purchases http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/SeafoodWatch.asp
* Bring your own bags to the market – reduce plastic use
* Buy glass instead of plastic jar products
* Volunteer for beach clean-ups
* Use a reusable bottle
* Don’t litter – if you see some, pick it up!
* Avoid plastic – find alternatives
* Educate others