What can we do to stop it?
- Biodegradable plastic; it is completely decomposed in organic materials once it reaches a gyre
- Solutions that remove plastic (trash collecting, beach cleanup, etc)
- Spreading awareness of negative impacts of plastic
- Check out the Sea Change campaign from World Animal Protection and do everything you can to spread the word
Will the island ever go away?
There are several reasons as to why the patch will most likely never disappear. One of the most impactful is the fact that plastic is the majority of what makes up the patch and plastic is not biodegradable. Also, trash is accumulating in the island faster than it is degrading. For these reasons, oceanographers believe that the patch will not only never go away, but it will double in size.
Impact on the future of the ocean
It is killing off valuable parts of the ocean's ecosystem. Even the smallest creatures in the sea are affected. Microplastics and other trash block sunlight from reaching plankton and algae below the surface. plankton is an important source of food for other sea creatures but also as ecological sponges for carbon. So it goes without saying that the impacts of the plastic soup can have enormous unseen impacts to the planet.
We interviewed sea world employee, Nicole Barno, on her thoughts on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Q: How do you think humans have affected the ocean by accidentally creating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
A: Humans create so much waste that now, we don't know what to do with it anymore. So we think, why not dump it into the ocean? We don't think about how it can harm so many animals like seals, birds, and whales. There are so many communities of animals dying because we are so irresponsible and don't realize the consequence of our actions
Q: What do you think would be the best thing to do to prevent the growth of the patch?
A: I think that now that California requires people to pay for plastic bags when shopping it will make a huge positive impact. The easiest thing that we can all do is recycle on a daily basis. Instead of throwing some plastics, cardboard, and cans in the trash, recycle them. Another thing we could do that requires the smallest amount of work is use reusable grocery bags and water bottles. We don't realize how much of an impact that can make on pollution and how much trash we produce. You guys could also go do beach cleanups from time to time, it's gross but it is a huge help.
Q: What are you doing here at sea world to help prevent the expansion of the patch?
A: Myself, along with many of the other employees all make sure to use reusable water bottles and we recycle all the trash that we make. In the bigger picture, sea world is doing everything in its power to reduce the amount of trash we don't recycle by selling reusable cups and the plastic cups we sell are made up of biodegradable material. Also, if you visit any of our delicious food markets, the utensils, plates, along with any other things are almost all biodegradable.