Recently, I discovered the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. While the name suggests just one patch, garbage patches such as these are dotted around the entire globe. The term Great Pacific Garbage Patch, however, refers to the one situated between Hawaii and San Francisco due to its enormous size, which is said to be twice the size of Texas and weigh an estimate of 3.5 million tons.
The garbage patch is mainly filled with plastic that has not been recycled and has been scattered around the globe, collecting in this one spot by the way the current moves. Plastic is not biodegradable, instead it photodegrades which means it breaks down into tiny little pieces, which could end up being eaten by a sea creature.
The easiest way to prevent this garbage patch from increasing would be to recycle our plastic and not litter. In recent years the obsession with ensuring everyone recycled has reached an all time high however not in one single promotional material was the pacific garbage patch mentioned. If this image above was shown and made more people aware that this is one of the consequences of not recycling, the response to recycling could improve. I know that finding out about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was a huge shock for me and has inspired me to be more conscious about my rubbish.
Recycling doesn’t always have to involve putting rubbish in specific bags and putting it outside on the correct day for someone else to recycle, it can mean reusing something at home yourself. Coca Cola have launched a campaign called ‘2nd lives’ where they have created handy caps in order to reuse the empty Coke bottles for many other purposes than just to drink out of. The video shown on the Coca Cola website not only shows how you can recycle easily but also save money at the same time!
While you’re hopefully considering starting to recycle more vigilantly from now in order to stop the increase in the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, more than just recycling needs to be done to eliminate the garbage patch completely. Boyan Slat has founded The Ocean Cleanup Foundation and at just 19 years old has devised a feasible solution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. His idea uses the oceans natural currents and winds to push plastic towards a collection platform. Slat’s idea also uses solid floating barriers rather than nets to prevent the entanglement of sea life. It is estimated that his idea will remove half the garbage patch in 10 years. The Ocean Cleanup reached its goal of donations September 2014 but your support is vital. Please visit www.theoceancleanup.com to donate and to find out more.