You may have heard that there is a large island of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean. This is actually just one of the trash islands on the planet.
It is comprised of tons of particles of trash (mainly plastic) that have gathered together due to the behavior of the ocean’s current. It contains many chemicals that are dangerous to living organisms. Many animals are killed from it because they mistake bits of trash as prey.
This also ends up affecting human health. As Thomas Morton puts it:
“Jelly fish and filter feeders eat the plastic particles, bigger fish eat those, even bigger fish eat those, and eventually we start eating these.”
Here is a breakdown of some of the factors going on that make this such a problem. Good.is has an excellent poster that defines these factors. See the full Good.is Pacific Garbage Patch article.
A Trashy TED Talk
‘Toxic: Garbage Island’ Documentary
Ideas to Stem the Tide
What can you do to help? Recycle. It is an issue of poor waste management. Remember: this is a very difficult problem to solve, and it won’t be fixed overnight. The best thing each of us can do is slowly try to reduce waste in our personal lives one step at a time.
Consider using glass containers instead of plastic where you can so you don’t toss more plastic into the trash.
See if you’re neighborhood has a recycling program so the plastics you can’t avoid using will be reused.