The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating patch of garbage that is 5,800,000 sq mi and can be seen from space. It is located in the Pacific Ocean in between Hawaii and California. There are a lot of problems that this dump pile creates but one of the biggest problems is pollution impacting both animals and humans.
The plastic in the patch breaks up into tiny pieces called microplastics. These microplastics can spread apart and pollute the water. This can make the water seem hazy, foggy, and cloudy.
The pieces are often eaten and digested by animals living in the ocean such as turtles, seagulls, seals, and other marine mammals. This can cause the animals to have the microplastics clogged in their stomach and could also cause these marine animals to stop eating. This can even cause them to die. Turtles are a main victim of plastic. Sometimes turtles get washed on the shores of beaches with a cut flipper, or a soda bottle plastic ring stuck on their head.
The pollution from the patch also threatens human life. When a fish eats a piece of microplastic it can have it stuck in its body. Then humans fish them up and eat them. By doing this, people are ingesting microplastics without even knowing it. According to Tara Lohan’s 2021 The Revelator article ‘New Research Shows Just How Many Fish Are Eating Plastic’, scientists and researchers have done various tests and the main verdict is that ⅔ of all marine life have eaten microplastics and that between 2.6 and 36.5% of fish have ingested plastic.
More than 10 million tons of litter are dumped into the ocean every year contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Over time this trash collection has been given many names including ‘Trash Island’, ‘The Devil's Dumpster’,’ The place where turtles get choked to death by plastic’. No matter the name, it poses a threat.