Essay on Plastic Soup

Submitted By madiblea
Words: 1311
Pages: 6

The world we know as earth is the planet holding the most advanced species to date. Made of just land and water, we live all together about seven billion strong. We create new inventions, like plastic, shipping it across the world to change the lives of many. What some people don’t understand is, when they throw away all these amazing plastic products, we run into a problem. Seeing as plastic cannot be destroyed without burning it, creating harsh chemicals, we let it pollute the very earth we live on. It only has two places to go, our land or our water. Today billions of pounds of plastic can be found in our oceans. A toxic waste bowl is rapidly forming in the pacific, caused by the consumption of humans, know as the “Plastic Soup”. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) foresaw the start of the soup like mess in our ocean, otherwise known as the Plastic Garbage Patch, many years ago. Actually, scientists and environmental campaigners have been aware of the mounting volumes of plastic since the 1970’s. (Kostigen p.3) Even with the widespread knowledge though out the science world, the public has only recently become aware of the growing issue. We may be hearing about this phenomenon in more recent years, but I fear we may be too late to help. The massive amount of plastic waste swirling in the North Pacific has grown 100-fold over the last 40 years. (McLendon p.1) P.2 Data collected from institutions like NOAA, who studied the Pacific albatross populations, suggest there may be two distinct zones of debris swirling in the Pacific.
They are located northeast of the beautiful island of Hawaii, and about 1000 miles out of California. (McLendon p.1) With such beautiful beaches at such close range, some would start to question realness and severity of the Plastic Soup. The Garbage Patch location, also known as the Gyre, has an intense rotational pattern pulling in waste material from across the North Pacific Ocean. These areas include the costal waters off of North America and Japan. (Silverman p.3) The swirling patterns gradually pull in the results of marine pollution. It is mostly all land-based sources such as drinking bottles and plastic buckets. They drag into the ocean from the great rivers around the whole world. It seems as though there is no stopping this cycle of trash being sucked into our ocean. In fact, the cleanup process becomes more and more difficult the longer we wait. The patch becomes less and less visible as time continues on. It consists of very small pieces, almost invisible to the naked eye. Most of the contents are suspended beneath the surface of the ocean, with little density. Scientific studies show the 5.1 kilograms of plastic per square kilometer. The exact size of the patch is currently unknown because of the visibility issues. (Kostigen p.1) No one can accurately know for certain how to measure the boundaries of the trash because they are always shifting with ocean conditions. Even with this issue of accuracy, many attempts have been made to find the size of this swirling mess. Scientists estimate the size range from 700,000 -15,000,000 square kilometers. (McLendon p.2) To the people who
don’t have an accurate image of how big that really is, picture it almost the size of the continental United Stated. If you tried to drive around the United States perimeter, it would take months. Imagine the struggles of trying to drive a boat around this massive disaster of trash and waste. Some plastic and debris comes from fishing gear, offshore oil, and ships. Some think an easy fix is to force harsh laws onto fisherman and cruise ships to clean up after themselves. That is a way people block the real problem out of their minds. It is true that 80 percent of it comes from the land. (Silverman p.3) Garbage gets stuck in storm drains and is washed away into rivers and out to sea. The legal and illegal dumping of trash and appliances, and plastic pellets inadvertently