The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In an area of marine debris, laying approximately 135� to 155� West and 35� to 42� North. Although it shifts every year and exact position is hard to tell. It lies within North Pacific Gyre and does not go anywhere, as it is confined by its currents.
The area. The Patch is around 2200 kilometers long and 800 kilometers wide. 1 760 000 square kilometers.
Almost 3 times more than Spain and Portugal combined.
Pacific Sea. Garbage Patch.
How does it form?
Currents in the Pacific Ocean create a circular effect that pulls debris from North America, Asia and the Hawaiian Islands. Then it pushes it into a floating pile of 100 million tons of trash.
Where does it all come from?
80% Land; brought by sewer systems and rivers to the sea.
20% Ships and ocean sources like nets or fishing gear, many containers fall into the sea after severe storms.
Interesting facts. Less than 5% of plastic is recycled. In the Central North Pacifid Gyre, small pieces of plastic outweighed surface zooplankton by a factor of 6 to 1 in 1999. By the ratio in 2010 may already be 60 to 1.
Plastic never biodegrades, it doesn�۪t break down into natural substances. But it goes through a photodegeneration process, splits into ever smaller and smaller parts, which are still plastic.
Consists of both larger and disintegrated plastic objects and particles, both on the surface, in the wather column below it and on the bottom.
Depth to 10 meters.
Not all plastics float. Some (around half of it) are heavier than water and fall to the bottom, affecting its ecological equilibrium.
The ���North Pacific gyre� (a vortex created by little wind and strong high pressure systems) keeps soup in constant movement.
Problems created by plastic:
It fouls beaches worldwide and scares tourists away.
Plastic entangles marine animals and drowns them, strangles them and makes them immoveable.
Plastic litter washed ashore destroys habitats of coastal species.
Plastic litter get inside ships propellers and keels, making ship maintenance more expensive.
Plastic does not biodegrade, plastic things make an ideal vessel and enable invasive speciaes to move to further regions.
How long does it take to photodegrade plastic:
Disposable diaper 500
Six pack plastic ring 400
Plastic bottle 450
UN Environment Programme estimated recently that each square mile of ocean water contains 46,000 pieces of floating garbage.