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Alarming Amount of Plastic Found Spinning in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean

Dec 02, 2016 06:05 AM EST

Known as the Great Pacific Patch, an alarming amount of garbage was found spinning in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. When examined, this collection of garbage was seen to be made up of mostly plastic, and scientists are concerned about what further damage it can do to marine animals living in the Pacific. 

According to National Geographic, most of the trash found in the Pacific Ocean are coming from the U.S. and Asia. The current of winds created by the Earth's rotation carries the trash in a convergence zone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where currents have been found to be "calm and stable." Since plastic is non-biodegradable and cannot be worn down, it tends to break apart into tinier pieces.

It then becomes "bad food" for aquatic animals and prevents sunlight from getting through, lessening the abilities of phytoplankton to photosynthesize. The Midway Atoll is a small island found in the North Pacific Ocean and has been known to suffer the worst from the Great Pacific Patch of garbage. Though uninhabited by humans, it is a refuge for wildlife and a variety of bird species. However, instead of finding paradise, explorers are taken aback by the reality that hit them when they arrived on the small island.

A whiff of the smell of rotting birds and mounds of trash made mostly of plastic was what journalists from CNN had found when they reached Midway Atoll. They noted that it is the people's "throw away" culture that has surely caused this damage. Many scientists said that the birds living on the island confuse plastic with food. As plastic cannot be digested, thousands of birds suffer and die.

It was only in 2014 when the issue of Pacific Ocean garbage became an international issue when it was discovered that the patch of plastic increases in size every year. It was reported by the Guardian that a non-profit organization, known as the Ocean Cleanup, has been set up to try to collect the ocean trash and possibly reduce the size of the Great Pacific Patch in the next few years.  

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