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The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

The oceans are a very important part of our environment. About 50-80 percent of all life on earth is estimated to live in the oceans. Not many people even consider how important the ocean is to the environment. People worry about cutting down trees in the forest because of how if affects the animals habitat, but what about the animals in the ocean? They need help with keeping their habitat safe and clean as well.

Keeping the oceans clean is a lot of time over looked by other environmental problems.
I can’t see how anything can be more important than keeping our oceans clean. Trash going into the ocean is such a major problem it is causing the ocean to be full of it. The sizes of these spots are estimated in size because the rate of growth annually makes it hard to measure. It is said the size is estimated to be as big as twice the state of Texas. This is a major problem for marine life, not only because of the size, but because it is there at all.

The world’s biggest landfill isn’t on land at all it is in the oceans. The largest problem is
most of the trash that has accumulated in the ocean is plastic. It has been estimated that 90% of all the trash is plastic. The issue with plastic is that it is not biodegradable, which means it doesn’t break down, so it stays in the oceans forever. Animals are getting caught in the plastic materials and even getting it in their bodies. The most dangerous plastic debris is in the ocean is fishing nets. Fishers leave the nets in the ocean or accidentally drop them. Needless to say, whatever way they are getting in the ocean they are harming quite a few animals. Sea turtles and seals are getting caught in fishing nets, because they float in the water instead of sink. These animals are getting tangled and aren’t able to get free and they end up drowning. Fishing nets are not the only thing harming sea turtles either. Plastic bags are easily mistaken for jelly fish, which is a large part of the sea turtle diet. They can also die from this since they are unable to digest the plastic.

You must be wondering how so much garbage is getting into the oceans. It is unbelievable that 80% of the trash which makes up the Pacific Garbage Patch is coming from land. Only 20% comes from boats and oil rigs, 10% being the fishing nets. The boats dump steel and other metals into the ocean. For example computer monitors, tires, glass windows, and even some rubber is put into the water. This is also a problem, because most of these objects sink to the bottom damaging coral reefs and other habitats.

There are a few organizations I read about which are trying to take major steps in cleaning our oceans. A group called Project Kaisei, formed in March of 2009, are investigating to determine if some of the plastic debris in the Pacific can be removed and recycled. The mass of garbage is so big it can’t just be removed all at once, so it will be a very long, challenging process.

There are ways to help keep oceans clean and marine life healthy. Recycling plastic bottles and bags can help tremendously. The recycling motto reduce, reuse, recycle really is the way people all need to do it. Water bottles can be reused a few times then put it in the recycling bin instead of buying multiple bottles of water per day and simply throwing them away. I know it is much easier to just throw them in the trash, because recycling takes extra time out of the day to drive to a center, but it really is worth it. Another opportunity to help reduce plastic ocean trash can be when shopping. There are cloth bags that can be reused over and over again. They cost a little more but the few dollars spent can keep some animals safe from a plastic bag.

The oceans are interesting and mysterious. There are thousands of different types of animals and plants that live in the oceans. If people all work together they can help save a lot of marine life. It may seem close to impossible to clear out all of the garbage that has accumulated over the years, but we shouldn’t be discouraged. I hope, and believe, that in the near future we can help reduce the trash and amount of animals harmed. If people don't start to recycle I don’t see that happening.





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