Raising Awareness: The Pacific Garbage Patch
You may think that the amount of trash that is put out by the average American is a lot. But, do we know how much garbage is escaping the landfills? And if it isn’t going there, where is it going?
In the Pacific Ocean there is a huge mess of trash, nets and other debris floating around. This is known as the Pacific Garbage Heap. In the heart, it is about 386,000 sq. miles, with a trash pile spanning a greater 1,351,000 sq. miles. Within it, there are plastic bottles, plastic bags, caps, paper bags, and cigarette filters.
4%- beverage cans 4%-glass bottles 4%-straw stirrer 5%-paper bags 6%-plastic bottles 8%-lids and caps 8%-food wrappers 12%-plastic bags 45%- other items
One might ask what are the hazards of having a mess in the ocean this big. Well, as one might guess, there are quite a few. First, aquatic animals can get caught in the nets, or plastic bags, and even some smaller marine animals can get caught in the bottles. There have been birds found ashore that have died because the nets and debris surrounding and filling this location, have caught them.
What can someone do to prevent this mess from getting bigger? Again, there are many options. First, people can recycle. The more that everyone recycles, the less trash that ends up in the landfills and potentially in the ocean. Second, someone could help by picking up trash along the beaches, and even places that aren’t close to the ocean. Trash could possibly float downstream into the ocean from a riverbank, and the wind could carry lighter pieces of debris into the ocean, or close to it.
- The average person in a developed country produces about 2.6 pounds of trash every day
- Most of the trash that humans produce ends up in a landfill.
- Most of the trash that people produce is organic food waste.
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is becoming visible from space.
Consider that Earth is ours and there is currently no other planet to live on. Pollution is a huge problem in today’s world, and if we all can raise awareness, we will be making the world a better place.