The picture here is the North Pacific Gyre. A gyre is explained as any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Everything moves slowly in a gyre because of weather systems that work to reduce ocean circulation. The North Pacific Gyre sprawls across most of the northern Pacific Ocean and is currently spinning clockwise a huge collection, twice the size of Texas, of plastic, glass and other human trash.
Some of this trash, about 80%, floats out to sea from the continents, where many carelessly throw their soda cans and plastic bottles out car windows. About 20% of the debris collects from fishing boats, cruise ships, and other ocean dwellers, whether intentionally dumped or blown off board by wind. Most debris consists of small plastic confetti-like particles suspended at or just below the surface, with larger pieces floating around in the mix as well.
Finally, in April 2008 Richard Sundance Owen, a building contractor and scuba dive instructor, formed the Environmental Cleanup Coalition to address the issue of North Pacific pollution. Not only does the ECC work to remove plastic debris from our oceans, but strives to remove persistent chemicals and other organic pollutants from the water. Some other groups combating this huge garbage patch are the JUNK Raft, Project Kaisei, the SEAPLEX expedition. You go groups!
So, all this talk about plastic debris in the ocean is old news. But listen, this trash effects our lives more than we realize! The small pieces of plastic, (*shutter*) styrofoam, and other non-biodegradeables is the perfect size for marine life consumption. Much of this plastic absorbs toxic chemicals in our polluted oceans that then end up in the bellies of aquatic birds (their chicks), sea turtles, and even jelly fish and smaller fish. This means that not only is our trash, again, harming the world’s wildlife, but the chemical-absorbed trash is being digested by sea food-eating humans.
When we at OMPP heard about this polluted gyre, we felt disheartened and a little hopeless – which just fueled our motivation for better sustainability practices. We hope everyone learns about the effects of pollution in the gyre and around the world; We need to stop trash! Pollution comes full circle: Trash from our hands to the land – the oceans – the wildlife – back to our own digestive systems. Remember this; Some may see recycling and composting as a burden…but what do you think about that toxic, double TX-size pollution circle floating just west of our land mass?