The Great pacific garbage patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particles suspended in the upper water column, and is number two in our list of the most polluted rivers and other water bodies in America. Some of you might ask yourselves what is the great Pacific Garbage Patch ? And how can it be so great if I haven't heard of it ? In this section we will teach you everything you need to know about this garbage patch that floats slowly trough the pacific, and you will learn that the only really great thing about this patch, is it's size.
The Great Garbage Patch is a large area of floating, human-created, plastic waste, in the north of the Pacific Ocean. Also know as the Pacific trash vortex, the patch was first mention in 1988, in a paper publish by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Later, in 1997 Charles J. Moore came across what, according to him, was a large stretch of plastic debris. Although Moore's statements brought the attention back to the patch, experts say that almost the entire garbage patch is below the surface, invisible to the naked eyes, and that more than plastic items visible from a boat, the patch is made of plastic particles. Photo-degraded plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller polymers every time it decomposes, all the way to molecular level. Because the polymers don't degrade completely, every piece of plastic thrown to the ocean is still there, only now is plastic flakes. As plastic debris is broken into smaller and smaller "plastic flakes" it accumulates in the upper water column creating what is know as the Pacific's Great Garbage Patch.
But if the pacific ocean is so big, how come all the garbage end up in the same place? The answer is the ocean currents. They draw in human created waste from Japan and North America's shores. The current that draws in waste material is know as The north Pacific Gyre, in it the water circulates clockwise in a slow spiral. The rotational patterns of the gyre attracts the garbage and surface currents force any floating material into the low energy central area of the gyre, accumulating and trapping it there forever.
For researchers is hard to measure the Great Garbage Patch , since most of it is invisible to the naked eye, it is hard to determine what constitutes a part of the patch and what doesn't. Instead scientists test the water in different parts of the gyre looking for polymers concentration levels that are higher than normal. Using this technique they have determine that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice as big as the Hawaiian archipelago.