The ocean is big but so is the Pacific garbage patch. This garbage patch is located between Hawaii and California and is about twice the size of Texas or 1.6 million square miles. This garbage patch has a big effect on everyone worldwide and not just the people but also animals. There are several ways that we can help to clean up this debris that is contaminating our ocean, but in order to clean it up we need to learn more about it first.
The trash that is in our ocean right now is all coming from us, humans. We are the ones that make the trash but then it gets dumped into the ocean after we have no need for it. Sometimes trash gets directly dumped into the ocean like when people at the beach don’t clean up after themselves. But trash doesn’t always come directly from the ocean shore it also gets generated hundreds of miles from the ocean and when someone dumps trash in the parking lot or something similar then the rainwater can move that trash into storm drains that eventually empty into streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.
Or the wind can blow the trash into the ocean, or in a river that leads to the ocean. The trash doesn’t always come from us on land but it also can come from activity on the ocean people on the ocean intentionally or unintentionally dump their trash into the ocean.
So really how much trash is in our ocean? There is about 5.25 trillion pieces of trash and litter that is in our oceans. That is about twice the size or Texas and three times the size of France. “The main types of trash that are being dumped is plastic bottles, plastic bags, cigarettes, food wrappers, plastic utensils, straws, beverage cans, paper bags and Styrofoam cups.” (National Geographic) That is a ton of garbage that is being dumped everyday into our ocean and most of it is plastic. On a website about the Henderson island (an island that is covered in trash) it says
5.25 trillion pieces of trash and litter are clogging up our oceans. To put that in perspective, that’s about 14 billion pounds of garbage dumped into our oceans annually, or about 1.5 million pounds of trash dumped in the ocean every hour. Even more disturbing is the about 269 tons of that trash are floating on our oceans’ surfaces. This trash ends up on islands like Henderson Island, a remote island that has millions of pieces of garbage wash ashore every year.
That is so much garbage being dumped every hour, day and year and because of all that trash the island is no longer inhabitable for wildlife.
What can we do to help this garbage that is clogging our ocean? There are people that are already trying to help but this project is so huge that we need everyone to help. There have already been people who have made efforts to help for example there is a device that is currently acting like a big skirt that is in the ocean that uses the natural ocean currents to gather up some of the trash that is in the biggest garbage patch. It is called the “Ocean Cleanup”.
It is a 5-year project that is estimated to clean up a large part of the trash. But people keep dumping more and more trash. So the ultimate solution doesn’t have to be a big skirt that is out in the ocean although that is helping a lot. The ultimate solution is to prevent the trash before it even gets out into the ocean. If we can be better at recycling plastics and papers and all that other trash that is being dumped, then the ocean will stay cleaner longer and the ocean life will be safer.
The ocean debris is a big problem that is not only affecting us but the ocean and all the wildlife that live in it. The trash that is already out there is increasing every day and killing more and more fish and animals daily. Luckily the solution is super easy and won’t take much more effort than we are already doing. We just need to prevent the trash form going out into the ocean before it goes out.
- Jakuboski, Samantha. Garbage Dump in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean. 25 February 2011. 9 October 2018. .
- National Geographic. Great Pacific Garbage Patch. n.d. 9 October 2018. .
- National Ocean Service. How Much Would it Cost to Clean up the Pacific Garbage Patches? 12 October 2018. 9 October 2018. .
- Ocean Today. n.d. 9 October 2018. .