The Great Pacific garbage patch is a large area garbage, waste, plastics, and chemicals that are trapped in the currents of the Pacific Ocean.
The Great Pacific garbage patch was discovered by scientists and researchers in the late 1980s. Alaska based scientists had been recording levels of plastic particles in the North Pacific Ocean and found that there were high levels accumulating in the areas where the currents were strongest. Their researchers’ findings were published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States in 1988.
Most of the particles in the garbage patch are not visible to the naked eye, and much of the debris that is visible is suspended just below the surface of the water and so difficult to see unless traveling across the Ocean in a small boat.
The exact size of the patch is unknown as most debris cannot be easily seen by boat or plane. Estimates vary considerably with some of the more conservative estimating the patch to be about the size of the U.S. state of Texas and up to almost 10% of the size of the whole Pacific Ocean.
The Great Pacific garbage patch is one of many areas of marine debris in the world’s oceans. It is believed that the debris was pulled together by the Ocean currents towards the center until it is trapped and is continuously being added to as waste increases. The debris is made up of poor waste disposal of both domestic and industrial kinds, notably, waste from fishing vessels and cargo ships that regularly traverse the Pacific.
The debris has had a significant impact on marine life and also people as many birds and fish eat the plastic debris, and those animals, in turn, are eaten by humans.