The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: What Should You Know?

Many believe the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is a vast, continuous area of marine debris, including plastic bottles and other litter. But what is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch exactly?

Out of all the five offshore plastic accumulation regions in the world’s oceans, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (known as GPGP) is the largest among them. It’s about midway between California and Hawaii. Though some parts of the patch have more trash, microplastics comprise most of the debris if you’re wondering what caused the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or how it all came to be, read on.

What Caused the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Between 75% and 86% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch plastic waste comes from abandoned, lost, or discarded marine fishing gear. Winds and tides carry litter from beaches and other coastal regions out to sea, eventually ending up in the GPGP. Rivers and waterways contribute plastic debris to the ocean, and plastic waste disposed of in these areas may find its way into the ocean.

But what caused the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to accumulate are the four ocean currents meeting at the GPGP to produce an ocean gyre, an area of water that swirls about, carrying waste and litter via the currents to form in the center of the vortex. Over time, the GPGP increased due to these ocean dynamics.

The Devastating Consequences of the GPGP

The GPGP is a serious concern. When microscopic plastic particles are mistaken for food by marine animals, they can cause malnutrition, internal damage, and obstructions. The handles of plastic bags, packaging straps, six-pack rings, and other looped plastic trash can all harm wildlife.

Plastic can absorb harmful substances in addition to breaking down into microplastics. Microplastics and hazardous substances have the potential to make their way up the food chain of marine animals and ultimately reach humans.

It’s also easy for animals such as crabs, algae, or barnacles to move across the water if they attach themselves to garbage. A new species could upset an ecosystem by outcompeting or overcrowding native species.

What Is Being Done About the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

So, what is being done about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Many organizations are working on implementing eco-friendly processes, encouraging creative thinking, and fostering global collaboration.

Plastic can be properly recycled to keep it out of the natural environment. Because of its reusable nature, less plastic will need to be produced initially. Investing in and implementing innovative recycling technologies — including chemical recycling — can boost recycling rates and reduce plastic waste in the ocean.

Consumers can choose reusable products like straws, shopping bags, and water bottles to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Companies can also contribute by converting from single-use plastic to other materials and biodegradable packaging. It’s also important to participate in community ocean cleanup events.

Microplastics: A Hidden Threat in Our Drinking Water

Microplastics travel from the ocean to various other sources, including our drinking water. These can cause negative health effects when aggregating in the human body after ingestion. Ingesting microplastics exposes people to substances that might cause hormonal imbalances, developmental problems, and other health dangers.

You’ve already learned what is being done about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; now it’s time to take your safety into your own hands. Water filters have become essential for cleaning up and eliminating microplastics from water. These filters work incredibly well at capturing and removing these dangerous particles from the water.

At Aqua Ultraviolet, we have the latest technology available to ensure you can access clean water anytime. Our Life Plus Whole House UV Water Filter System removes microplastics from drinking water. Contact us today to get one step closer to finding the best solution for getting clean, safe drinking water.

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For over three decades, Aqua Ultraviolet has been the premier manufacturer of ultraviolet sterilizers and bio-mechanical filtration.

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