TRASH ISLANDS

What is a trash island?A trash island is a big clump of marine litter in a body of water, like oceans. A well known trash island is the Great Pacific garbage patch, known as a trash vortex because to form a trash island the trash gets sucked together by rotating ocean currents called gyres. This specific trash island is caused by the North Pacific gyre. The Great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP) is around 1.6 million square kilometers, which is double the size of Texas, almost 3 times the size of France, and it only grows by the day. Scientists predict that it could double in size in the next 10 years unless we stop it. These floating trash islands are made of tiny pieces of plastic, less than 5 millimeters long, called "microplastics". There are many more trash islands in the world and they are only doing damage to our waters.

Like the atmospheric currents, the ocean functions as a conveyor belt. The work done by the oceans helps control the climate. Adding trash to the job suffocates the ocean, therefore meddling with the role of the ocean on the planet. With extensive amounts of trash being thrown into the ocean, it is affecting not just humans, but also marine life. 

Plastic and other forms of waste that humans produce can wreak havoc on wildlife. If an animal consumes a part of the pollution, it will break down, releasing toxic PCBs into the sea animal's body. In addition to plastic, fish nets also trap animals. Marine animals become tangled in the nets and this can cause severe injury, starvation, and death. When there is too much trash on the surface of the ocean, the sun can not reflect onto the algae, thus inhibiting the algae from being able to grow.

You may think that trash islands do not affect human lives, but they do. When fish and other marine life are intoxicated, these toxins never leave the body of that animal. This affects human life because if the fish is intoxicated with chemicals and we eat the fish, the same chemicals then enter our bodies. Ocean waste can take hundreds of years to decompose. For example, plastic bags take 20 years to decompose, plastic bottles take 400 years, and fishing lines take 600 years. No one really knows how long plastics will linger in the ocean because with exposure to UV rays from the sun and the ocean waters, plastic sits in the ocean and continues to break down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Another threat caused by overflowing trash is air pollution. Air pollution can cause respiratory diseases and many additional harmful effects on the body. The toxic contamination in the air because of waste includes carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide,  and methane. Each day, people are exposed to polluted air through polluted odors, which are usually caused by decomposing and liquid waste items.

Sources:

https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/01/26/our-oceans-a-plastic-soup/

http://www.earthtimes.org/pollution/trash-islands/2253/

https://www.ecubelabs.com/overflowing-garbage-bins-5-impacts-on-health-and-environment-and-how-to-prevent/