Great Pacific Garbage Patch Growing

by Cam

As sailors we are often concerned, as global citizens we should be alarmed. Cruising should be about clear waters and clean sandy beaches, but unfortunately this is becoming less of a reality and more of an ideal with plastic litter and garbage the main problem as it just does not break down.

A new study by The Ocean Cleanup shows that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a rotating soup of plastic in the north Pacific Ocean, contains up to 16 times more waste than previous surveys were able to detect.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California.

PLASTIC ACCUMULATION

It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. More than half of this plastic is less dense than the water, meaning that it will not sink once it encounters the sea.

1.15 to 2.41 million metric tons of plastic are thought to be entering the ocean each year from rivers.

The stronger, more buoyant plastics show resiliency in the marine environment, allowing them to be transported over extended distances. They persist at the sea surface as they make their way offshore, transported by converging currents and finally accumulating in the patch.

Once these plastics enter the gyre, they are unlikely to leave the area until they degrade into smaller microplastics under the effects of sun, waves and marine life. As more and more plastics are discarded into the environment, microplastic concentration in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch  will only continue to increase.

To read the full article go to The Ocean CleanUp web site and read the research findings. 

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