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The Tragedy Of Ocean Trash

THE TRAGEDY OF OCEAN TRASH Trash of all kinds exists in the ocean – clean-up crews have found cigarette butts, glass bottles and even mattresses. But the most common type of trash found in the ocean's gyres (circular currents formed by wind patterns and the earth's rotation) is tiny peices of broken down plastics, known as microplastics. Microplastics, as well as plastic products before they're broken down into smaller bits, have a devastating impact on life in the ocean. Loggerhead sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, their favorite food, and microplastics and other trash can block sunlight from reaching plankton and algae, which are an integral part of the marine food web. HOW YOUR TRASH ENDS UP IN THE OCEAN Top ten items collected on the 2012 International Coastal Cleanup day STEP 1 People litter or wind blows trash out of a garbage can. 2,117,931 cigarettes and cigarette filters 1,019,902 plastic bags 1,140,222 food wrappers and containers STEP 2 Trash blows into 298,332 a storm drain. paper bags 339,875 beverage cans 611,048 straws and stirrers 958,893 caps and lids STEP 3 692.767 cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons It travels through sewer pipes... 521,730 glass bottles 1,065,171 plastic bottles STEP 4 And into waterways. STEP 6 The sun's rays and heat break down large, plastic trash into smaller and smaller pieces. Bacteria doesn't biodegrade plastic into small, harmless components the way it does paper or wood, so they break down into what's called "microplastics," pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm in diameter. PLASTIC BAG MICROPLASTICS STEP 5 Finally, it reaches the ocean, where birds and fish may mistake small pieces of trash for food. STEP 7 It takes about a year for trash, including the tiny plastic pieces, to travel from the east coast of Asia to the Pacific gyre. It takes about five years from the west coast of the United States. U.S. AMONG LARGEST CONTRIBUTORS TO OCEAN GARBAGE PATCHES Any circulating water or air current is considered a gyre, though the term usually refers to an oceanic vortex. The earth has five major gyres in the Pacific, Atlantic and Incdian Oceans. Gyres trap trash – inclucding microplastics that are invisible to the naked eye – in their circulations. The Pacific garbage patch is the most well-known and studied, though similar patches have been found in both the Atlantic and Inclian Oceans. WESTERN GARBAGE PATCH SUBTROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE EASTERN GARBAGE PATCH OTHER GYRES WITH MARINE DEBRIS One area of marine debris concentration is located off the coast of Japan, which researchers believe to be a small recirculation gyre. This area, located north of the Hawaiian archipelago, has an abundance of marine life and marine debris, and is one of the mechanisms for accumulation of debris in the Hawaijan Islancs. Concentrations of marine debris have been detected in an area midway between Hawaii and California known as the Northern Pacific Subtropical High, or gyres contain similar accumulations of trash, the "eastern garbage patch." Some speculate this patch is roughly the size of areas are, and no accurate estimate exists of Texas, though its exact area is unknown. Little research has been conducted to date on marine debris in other areas. It is believed that each of the world's five major but no one can say for sure how large these how much debris there is in the ocean. NORTH ATLANTIC GYRE NORTH PACIFIC GYRE SOUTH PACIFIC GYRE SOUTH, ATLANTIC : -GYRE INDIAN OCEAN GYRE No data Ocean currents Kilograms of municipal solid waste generation per capita per day .09-.48 49-,53 .54-.87 .88–1.13 1.14–1.37 1.38–1.92 1.93-2.4 2.41-14.4 THE HUFFINGTON POST Source Ocean Conservancy, Environmental Protection Agency, Mother Nature Network, World Bank, NOAA, Smithsonian, National Geographic

The Tragedy Of Ocean Trash

shared by alissascheller on Apr 22
Ever heard of the Pacific garbage patch? It's one of several swirling trash zones in our oceans, and it's where a lot of our plastic litter ends up. While these debris patches aren't visible piles of ...




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