The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an accumulation of an estimated 80,000 metric tonnes of plastic in the Central North Pacific Ocean. Here are some unbelievable facts on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
First found in 1977
In July of 1977, Captain Charles J. Moore of USA was sailing 1,600 kilometers off the coast of California when he saw miles and miles of plastic wraps, bottles, caps and synthetic flakes floating in the ocean.
Invisible to the satellites
Despite its large spread, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not visible from the satellites or airplanes because it is spread out in such a large area. It takes a closer look to identify that it is plastic floating.
So how much plastic is there in the patch?
It is estimated that The patch covers 1.6 million square kilometers with a concentration of 10–100 kg per square kilometer. It contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing 80,000 metric tonnes. There is about 10 – 100 Kg of plastic per square kilometer.
Known as the Garbage Island
It located almost halfway between Japan and USA, and Hawaii and California. Another name given to it is the “plastic soup” and also the “8th continent”. There is another garbage patch towards the South near South America.
Dangerous to birds and aquatic life
It is estimated that almost all of the 1.5 million Laysan albatrosses have ingested plastic. Many marine species get trapped in the plastic and die. Marine animals are also susceptible to eating this plastic. This may lead to bigger problems when those animals are further eaten by predators.
It will double its size in the next 10 years
It is sad but true. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and the consumption of plastic by humans is not going down anytime soon. As per a latest research, 90% of the plastic is dumped and not recycled.
It looks much different from what we imagine
When mentioning garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, most people imagine massive junk of plastic bottles, wrappers and containers. However, this is not so. The garbage patch is actually made up of microplastics.