The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also know as the Pacific Trash Vortex or gyre, is located in the central North Pacific Ocean and is larger than the state of Texas. There are also garbage patches in the Indian and Atlantic ocean. The patches are defined as containing a higher amount of plastic as compared to surrounding oceans. To date, five patches in total have been discovered. Plastics are transported and converge in the ocean where currents meet. This means that huge plastic islands are made as a result. SES (Sea Education Society) scientists studied plastics in the Atlantic and calculated there are 580,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer
Sources of Plastic Toxins Entering the Oceanic Food Chain
As far as plastic entering the ocean, about 20% of the trash comes from ships and platforms that are offshore. The rest sources from litter being blown into the sea, picked up by tides on the beach, or intentional garbage dumping. The worse part is, these plastics don't biodegrade, so they break up into tiny pieces that are consumed by fish and sea mammals. Plastic is killing more than 100,000 sea turtles and birds a year from ingestion and entanglement.
Chemicals in plastics are released into the water as well as the atmosphere. Fish easily become contaminated from the chemicals in the water. This is a direct link of how plastic chemicals enter the food chain.
Prevention of Contamination
The only way for this unsustainable plastic production to decrease would be a global staggering petroleum supply, because of environmental worry. About 8% of the world's oil use is from manufacturing plastics.
There are efforts to protect the oceans from plastic pollutants along with human health, but they are mostly grassroots organizations.
As far as protecting yourself from contamination, it is probably best not to have a diet that consists mainly of fish, since most is probably contaminated. However, one of the most effective things we could all do as members of this fragile ecosystem is to be responsible for our trash. When we have the opportunity, we should try to avoid buying products packaged in plastic. We should always recycle plastic when we do use it. At the store, request a paper bag instead of plastic, or bring your own. Use a reusable water bottle, and of course don't litter.