Not only does plastic threaten our landfills but a recently discovered area in the North Pacific Gyre, a place where 4 prevailing ocean currents form what is essentially a whirlpool, has been nicknamed the “Pacific’s Garbage Patch”.
The peculiarities of this location arise from the fact that four prevailing ocean currents–the North Pacific Current to the north, the California Current to the east, the North Equatorial Current to the south, and the Kuroshio Current to the west meet here and create a clockwise circular vortex, or whirlpool, that draws waste material in, and once in, traps it. Consequently, most of the trash that enters the Pacific eventually winds up here.
Here are some disturbing facts about this area of ocean which is approximately 540,000 sq mi:
- It’s also known as the “Eastern Garbage Patch” & “Pacific Trash Vortex”
- The location is between the equator and 50° N latitude
- In 2001, the mass of plastic particles in the area exceeded zooplankton (animal life) by a ratio of 6 to 1
- Area covered with trash is approximately twice the size of Texas
- Occasionally currents will shift, releasing large amounts of trash that are deposited on land
I urge you to watch this short video below and think about where that next plastic bottle or grocery bag you are throwing away may finally end up.
The packaging for a microwavable “microwave” dinner is programmed for a shelf life of maybe six months, a cook time of two minutes and a landfill dead-time of centuries. ~David Wann, Buzzworm, November 1990