Posted on May 30, 2016 | Comments 0
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is also known as the Pacific trash vortex is a patch of sea debris particles formed near the central North Pacific Ocean. The patch is formed over an intermediate area with a lot of plastic concentration in it. The patch mainly contains high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris. It is low in density and hence, a complete photo is not clearly visible with satellite photography too. Know some interesting facts about this large garbage patch related to its formation, discovery and current state. Read below:
- This garbage patch was predicted in a paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the year 1988 in the United States. It was based on the conclusions derived by researchers from Alaska.
- Researchers found high amounts of debris accumulated in this region of ocean currents because of which the formation of this patch was predicted.
- The patch is not visible easily because it contains very small pieces which are almost invisible to the naked eye. Most of its contents are underwater.
- According to scientific studies, the density of this debris of plastic is 5.1 kilograms per square kilometer, which is relatively very low.
- A patch similar to this also exists in the Atlantic ocean, which is known as the North Atlantic garbage patch.
- The rotational pattern of this patch of the ocean draws in the garbage waste material from the North Pacific Ocean, which are the coastal waters of North America and Japan.
- As the materials from different neighboring coastal areas are drawn towards this patch, the wind driven surface currents containing these garbage material moves towards the center, trapping it in the region, making the patch larger day by day.
- There is no scientific data available for the information about the origin of the pelagic plastic matters.
- The 80% garbage material from this patch comes from land-based sources and 20% comes from the ships which generate waste.
- According to a report produced in 2011, the main source of this marine debris is the improper waste disposal which is done in the marine ocean bodies. This is due to careless waste management from industries as well as illegal dumping and littering.
- The garbage matters range from abandoned fishing nets to micro-pellets used in cleaners and other materials.
- The size of this patch is not yet known because most of it is submerged underwater, but it is estimated to be around 700,000 square kilometers. It is said to be twice the size of United States continent.
- This Garbage patch had one of the highest levels of plastic accumulation suspended in the upper water column and because of this; the researchers have claimed that there would be severe harms caused to the marine ecosystem because of this.
- Some of the garbage contents degrade into smaller particles and get decomposed naturally.
- Some researchers say that looking at the type of ocean currents in the Pacific, there might be one more similar patch formed in the ocean.
Filed Under: Eco Systems