What is the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch?

The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is an enormous collection of trash that is collected and deposited by ocean currents in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. The trash mainly comprises of plastic debris and is not only huge but is also scattered along a wide expanse making it difficult to clear up the choked-up water space.

How the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is formed?

The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is a phenomenon that occurs due to ocean currents swirling in the North Pacific waters. These ocean currents called the sub-tropical gyre are perpetually present in the North Pacific Ocean waters and they are the main reason behind the accumulated waste. The gyre currents move in a clockwise direction and carry the trash and the waste along in their path from the land right in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. The entire process of the gyre collecting and depositing trash happens in the East and the West part of the Pacific Ocean, thus making the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch a convergence of the East garbage patch and the West garbage patch in the North Pacific. The resulting accumulated and huge mass of waste floating in the North Pacific now has ended up as a pathway that comes in the way and which fishermen and ships are forced to avoid.

Credits: oceanpollutionpatch/YouTube

Credits: oceanpollutionpatch/YouTube

Effects of the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

But while humans are successful in avoiding the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, sea animals and creatures are unable to do so and inadvertently fall prey to the plastic piled up in the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch. And the debris not only includes plastic, but also toxic substances that are completely non-biodegradable and fishing nets that end up trapping mammals like whales and dolphins which pass through the water.

The most unfortunate part however is that, the amount of waste and garbage that has piled over due to the gyre, is difficult to clean up. According to one researcher who has extensively covered the subject of the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, the clean-up operation to clear the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch could end up making several nations bankrupt. The severity of the problem is quite evident from this statement and it is enough to make one wonder as to how to solve the problem.

The above statement is not an exaggeration. The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch extends to several miles right in the deep sea and therefore the threat of destruction of marine life looms even larger. And in modern times, where the ecology is being troubled due to circumstances like global warming and oil spills, it becomes relevant that this unorthodox waste dump is cleared up as soon as possible.

How Can We Help?

And while it is agreed that it is quite impossible to clean-up the mess created by our oversight in the first place, it is not impossible to rectify the mistake. By using biodegradable items instead of the toxic and non-biodegradable ones, we will be able to minimise the effect of the gyre carrying and depositing the waste and thus adding to the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch. By making people aware of their mistakes regarding the use of plastics which can prove to be hazardous not just to sea creatures and mammals but also to the birds who get attracted to flashy colours and could thus lose their lives choking up on plastic, change can be brought about.

By making use of paper-bags and other alternatives that can successfully replace plastic bags, one can strive to achieve the purpose of tackling the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch. In view of taking care of the environment and its other creatures, it is crucial that we bring about a positive change in our lifestyle and that too as fast as possible.

Watch an informative video on pacific ocean garbage patch:

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  1. Clifford Goudey says

    The author writes, “And while it is agreed that it is quite impossible to clean-up the mess ….”

    Says who? Using tools common in commercial fishing and methods common in agriculture, this mess can be cleaned up. the real question is whether there is sufficient value in the debris to support the effort or will is require some form of subsidy or bounty. It should not be difficult to make an estimate of the states or origin by some sub-sampling.

  2. Bobby says

    It is a monument built to enduring greed stupidity and blind ambition of the human races destructive waste of resources and mismanagement of the oceans and now thanks to Fukishima the Pacific patch is radioactive in the range of lethal Rads radiation as well.

  3. Chris says

    “These ocean currents called the sub-tropical gyre are perpetually present in the North Pacific Ocean waters and they are the main reason behind the accumulated waste.”

    Nice blame the ocean not the we who have been throwing our trash in it.

  4. Anish says

    @ Chris: We are not blaming “OCEAN” or Mother Nature. Just explaining the reason for accumulation..
    Yes! The ultimate culprit behind this is Mankind :).

  5. Sparky says

    Where exactly is this alleged garbage patch?

    Is there any evidence to support it’s existence?

  6. Katharine Howard q says

    I would like to know where you got your photos I am hoping to use them in a visualized curriculum for third graders.

  7. Mark says

    I suspect most of the photos are used for sensationalistic effect and not actually taken in the North Pacific Gyre. Having personally sailed tens of thousands of miles in the Pacific, I can attest there are certainly signs of industrialized man in regions where currents favor floating debris accumulation. However, sensationalistic statements like, “toxic trash islands the size of Texas”, and claiming that “ships are forced to avoid” them (false), only serve to undermine the environmental cause’s credibility in the long run. Let’s stick to pragmatic and verifiable information as well as a level headed decisions as to whether these things are mere aesthetic blights or real risks.

  8. John says

    I’m having a hard time believing the picture of a man in a canoe is of the garbage patch. And there seems to be land in the background of the other picture. I get it that it’s a problem, but these photos seem questionable.

  9. Sachin says

    I am interested in collecting plastic garbage spread all over pacific ocean. Will anyone guide me how do i do this? Or is there any institution / NGO working on this.


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