What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch…It’s Much Smaller (and Much Bigger) than You Might Think. 

Many of us have heard stories about a floating island of garbage and plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean. Some of us have Googled it. The exact specifics of this floating mass of filth vary depending on a variety of different things. Its size is currently estimated to be twice the size of Texas…which is 1.6 million square kilometers (about 618,000 square miles). Its mass is probably a bit more troubling, as researchers are considering the possibility that there could be up to 16 times more plastic in this floating heap of trash than previously thought. This means that, just like most things, what we’re observing on the surface doesn’t tell the whole story.

Most people know that plastic is not biodegradable. But just for a day, observe all the things in your life that are plastic. Lighters. Cups. Toys. Bowls and dishes. Parts of our cars. The list goes on and on. Now think about what you do with a lighter when it stops working. Consider what you do with the Red Solo Cup when you’re done using it. What about when your kid’s toy breaks?

This isn’t meant to make you feel terrible. Well…maybe a little. But the point is that we all tend to view plastic as disposable. It’s cheap and convenient, and and so we use it without hesitation. Rarely do we consider the implications of one plastic cup, of one used up lighter. 

Much of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of microplastics. The Garbage Patch isn’t a floating island of milk jugs. These tons upon tons of plastic are all sorts of sizes, with many of them being tiny, microscopic pieces of plastic that give the water a murky, cloudy look and stop the growth of plankton and other sea life. They make their way into even the most microscopic ocean creatures and work their way up the food chain, eventually ending up on our kitchen tables.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing by the day. The problems its causing are becoming more and more evident, though the extent of the implications won’t be known for years. Unless we all take seriously the part we have to play in slowing this problem down, we probably won’t see much change.

At Filtrol, we are committed to seeing the problem of microplastics disappear in our lifetime, and we believe it’s possible with hard work, strategic partnerships, and the right steps forward.

To find out more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, click here

To learn more about what the Filtrol does to stop plastic pollution, watch this video