What is it?
• Garbage island, also
known as the Great
Pacific Garbage Patch,
or the Pacific Trash
Vortex, is a gyre of
marine debris in the
central North Pacific
• It has high amounts
of pelagic plastics,
chemical sludge, and
other debris, trapped
by the currents of the
North Pacific Gyre.
• It is the largest
landfill in the world.
The patch is located within the North Pacific Gyre.
Cause and Effect
• The United Nations Environment Program estimated in
2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces
of floating plastic.
• In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount
of plankton by a ratio of six to one.
• Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world
produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean.
• Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on
the ocean floor. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres
and the massive garbage patches that form there, with
some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.
How does this affect us?
• 1) Our trash ends up in the ocean 2) it gets
broken down 3) it gets eaten by jellyfish and
smaller life forms 4) bigger fish eat those, bigger
fish eat those 5) and eventually we eat those.
• It is linked to early onset of diabetes, problems
with livers and kidneys, every major public health
crisis that’s hit the US in the last 30 years because
of the chemicals in them. It is also linked to
problems with reproduction.
What’s being done to fix this?
• Because the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so far from any
country’s coastline, no nation will take responsibility or
provide the funding to clean it up. Many international
organizations, however, are dedicated to preventing the
patch from growing any further.
• Cleaning up marine debris is not as easy as it sounds. Many
pieces of debris are the same size as small sea animals, so
nets designed to scoop up trash would catch these
creatures as well. Even if we could design nets that would
just catch garbage, the size of the oceans makes this job too
time-consuming to consider. And no one can reach trash
that has sunk to the ocean floor.
• Charles Moore, who discovered the patch in 1997,
continues to raise awareness through his own
environmental organization, the Algalita Marine Research