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How Did the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Form

How Did the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Form?

Ocean pollution is increasing. Many debris and plastics make their way into the ocean every day. Some get into the Pacific Ocean through the rivers and others from the boats and factories.

When the ocean currents swirl in the North Pacific water, they carry the plastic debris and other wastes along, causing a garbage patch. So, how did the great pacific garbage patch form?

Human and ocean currents are responsible for the great pacific garbage patch. If you consume or throw plastics on the ground, you are behind some of the plastic waste getting into the ocean. All rivers end up in the sea, and the trash can get into the Pacific Ocean with the help of the ocean currents.

The sub-tropical gyre, ocean currents in the North Pacific waters move clockwise, carrying all the trash and wastes from the land to the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. This process happens in the East and Western Pacific Oceans, especially in areas between 135°-155°W. In this article, we will expound more on the formation of the great pacific garbage patch and its solutions.

How did the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Form?

The great pacific garbage patch occurs due to the accumulation of marine debris that settles in the North Pacific Ocean. This garbage patch features two sectors, which creates an effect on Ocean pollution. The Eastern Garbage patch extends towards the coasts of California and Hawaiian, and the Western patch covers half of the ocean.

The biggest reason that makes this garbage patch persistent is the ocean currents. These gyres carry waste from the land to the sea, forming the garbage patch. Besides, much of the trash that enters the ocean is biodegradable. This means that they can’t be broken down or absorbed naturally.

Also read: Pros and cons of biodegradable plastics 

Although wastes such as plastics can be broken down into microplastic, they can be harmful to sea species. So, how can you keep the garbage patch from growing?

Humans are the main contributors to the pacific garbage patch. Things such as fishnet, bottle caps, old toys, and tiny pellets of plastics end up in the ocean, which can affect marine life.

You may think that cleaning up waste in the sea is an easy task. But it’s an expensive project in terms of money and equipment. Because of this, it is good to practice activities that will keep the garbage patch from growing.

Here are 4 tips for conserving the ocean

1. Reduce using plastic

The more you use plastic, the more you will pollute the ocean. Most people who buy food packed with a plastic container dispose of it on the land, which ends up in the sea.

That’s why it is advisable to reduce the use of plastic. For instance, you can use paper to pack your food or other belongings.


2. Use biodegradable fishing nets

The majority of Pacific Ocean garbage patch comes from broken fishing nets. Most of the fishing nets are made from nylon which does not decompose. This means that a broken fishing net will continue to pollute the ocean for many years.

That’s why it is advisable to consider biodegradable fishing nets.

3. Participate in community clean-ups

A good way to conserve the ocean is by keeping your community clean. Community clean-up means collecting any trash you find on the ground. With this, you will be preventing plastic wastes and other debris from entering the waterways and ocean.

4. Encourage your friends or local companies to recycle plastics or generate less plastic packaging.

Many companies use plastic as a packaging product. But you can change this practice by educating and encouraging them to reduce plastic usage. You can also introduce a plastic-free packing container.

FAQs about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What are the effects of the great pacific garbage patch?

The great pacific garbage patch consists of many tiny plastics and debris. As you are aware, plastic materials do not decompose. Thus, when the waste builds up over time, plastic trash becomes an issue.

Marine animals can confuse broken plastics or fishing nets for food. They end up ingesting them, but it becomes difficult to digest them. This makes the animal’s stomachs fill with plastics, making them die.

Besides, the wastes can disturb the marine food web in the Ocean. When the microplastics settle near the surface of the sea, they hinder sunlight from reaching plankton and algae. When these plants are disturbed, the entire food web changes.

For instance, animals that feed on planktons will reduce due to a decrease in food. In addition, there will be little food for the apex predators.

Who created the great pacific garbage patch?

The great pacific garbage patch was discovered by Charles Moore in 1997. This yachtsman was sailing when he noticed a lot of plastic bottles and other debris floating on the sea.

Later, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a specialist in tracking ocean currents, named the garbage patch. Generally, no one created the great pacific garbage patch. It forms as a result of plastics debris and the North Pacific gyre.

How many gyres are in the ocean?

Gyres are systems of slow-moving ocean currents. Mainly, there are five gyres in the Indian Ocean. They include:

  • North Atlantic Gyre
  • South Atlantic Gyre
  • North Pacific Gyre
  • South Pacific Gyre
  • Indian Ocean Gyre
  • These gyres help to circulate the ocean water around the world. Also, they draw in plastics and other wastes that humans release in the coastal regions. 

    Although the Ocean clean-up is working on removing the trash from the Ocean, humans are advised to implement safe practices to ensure that plastic items do not get into the ocean.

    Also read: Scientific solutions to plastic pullution

    The great pacific garbage patch contains the largest amount of plastic and wastes.

    This is because many rivers drain in the Pacific Ocean, thus, taking in plastics and other trash. Also, the five gyres take in wastes to the Pacific Ocean, which causes pollution.

    This article answers ‘how did the great pacific garbage patch form’? If you understand the cause and the solutions to reduce the garbage patch growth, you will implement the correct Ocean conservation practices.

    With this, you will be taking care of the marine life.

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