The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- What is it and how does it affect us?

Plastic in the garden, plastic problems, industry, the Pacific Ocean

Have you ever heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? We did not have that either, but as soon as we started sniffing at what it was for something, we understood that this is something that must be brought to the surface and discussed. 

To briefly explain what it is, there is a collection of debris in the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and California. This sea debris ends up in the oceans, the strait and other large parts of the water. This place is also known as Pacific Trash Vortex.

Marine scientists and ecologists have recently discovered that around 70 percent of the sea debris end up at the bottom of our oceans, which is really shocking. The area of ​​this place is approx 1.6 million square kilometers, which is about twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France. Thanks to the influence of the sun and wind, among others, the size and location change to and from. This mass of plastic amounts to almost 90 tons (!), which is 4-16 times as much as previously thought. The weight of this mass of plastic can be compared with 500 Jumbojetplan.

It is believed that approximately 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the area, which can be compared to about 250 pieces of plastic in the form of debris for each person on this earth. Since 1970, calculations have been made at the site where, according to statistics, you can see that what we remove from this surface is not close to as much as is added. The graph for all plastic that is added is thus much larger than the one where we remove rubbish from the site.

The majority of the plastic debris found in this place is PE or PP or fishing nets (you can read more about the different types of plastic here). 80 percent of the plastic in the oceans is estimated to come from the land surface, where 20 percent comes from boats and other marine sources. While many different types of debris end up in our waters, plastic is the vast majority of marine debris due to three reasons. 

Plastic in the garden, plastic problems, industry, the Pacific Ocean

Firstly Plastic is cheap to manufacture which means it is used more and more in consumer and industrial products. The second reason is that plastic is not degradable but instead breaks down into small pieces. In the oceans, the sun's rays also cause the plastic to break down into smaller and smaller pieces, a process also known as photodegradation.

Sea debris can be very harmful to marine life. Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Seals and other marine animals are really at risk. They can get entangled in abandoned fishing nets, something that seals very often encounter and is a phenomenon that is usually called ghost fishing. The biggest problem with GPGP is that over time the plastic will break down into microplastic which is much more difficult to remove compared to, for example, entire fishing nets or plastic packaging.

studies shows that 700 different species have eaten sea debris and 92 of the animals that have been exposed have ingested plastic. 17 percent of those who ingested plastic are now listed on the red list of endangered species. The fact that the animals get pieces of plastic in them later leads to us getting them in us when we eat fish, for example. This means that the small pieces of microplastic not only affect the animals, but also us humans in the long run. 

Due to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so far away from any country's coastline then no country wants it take responsibility or want to fund a project to clean up the area. Charles Moore - the man who discovered this area - believes that cleaning this place would bankrupt any country that even tried it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Program has calculated that it would take approx 67 vessels for one year to clean up less than one percent of the entire area. 

Plastic in the garden, plastic problems, industry, the Pacific Ocean

Of all plastic found in GPDP is 46 percent fishing nets, and 84 percent of all plastics found in that area are PBT, which is toxic. As we see it, there is more than one problem here, but also more than one solution. To begin with, the problem is that we produce too much plastic, which we could have reduced considerably by using reusable bottles and packaging. studies shows that the global plastics industry by 2050 will contribute to 15 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions (you can read more about this here). But by slowing down the production of plastic and focusing on sustainable solutions, we can reduce this figure and change the development. Another solution may be that if you create packaging, they are guaranteed to be recyclable.

Charles Moore, who discovered the place in 1997, today continues to spread knowledge about this place through his own environmental organization, by name Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Organizations such as The Plastic Pollution Coalition and The Plastic Oceans Foundation uses social media and campaigns to act directly to support individuals, retailers and companies in the process from toxic plastics to degradable and reusable materials.

We at Skosh work hard to reduce plastic waste, among other things by having completely environmentally friendly packaging that can be recycled. In addition, our bottles are meant to be reused over and over again, which does not contribute to plastic waste. By learning more about GPDP, you understand that plastic production is really problematic. Together, however, we can make a difference through our conscious choices. Together we can reduce plastic waste in the world, for us and for everyone who lives on this planet: one plastic bottle at a time. 

Plastic in the garden, plastic problems, industry, the Pacific Ocean

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