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The Great (Eastern) Pacific Garbage Patch

Honor's Project for GPH
by

Staci Fallbeck

on 30 April 2013

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Transcript of The Great (Eastern) Pacific Garbage Patch

Who does it affect? How can we help? What is the Great {Eastern} Pacific Garbage Patch? Great {Eastern}Pacific Garbage Patch The Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered by Charles Moore in 1997. Moore was heading towards home after a sailing race in Hawaii. He decided to take a different route and came across the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch is found in the middle of this gyre. This circular vortex was created by wind, force, and the Earth’s rotation, where trash gets sucked into and can’t get out. This gyre is 19 million square kilometers. 'It took us a week to get across and there was always some plastic thing bobbing by,' says Moore. 'Bottle caps, toothbrushes, styrofoam cups, detergent bottles, pieces of polystyrene packaging and plastic bags. Half of it was just little chips that we couldn't identify. It was Captain Moore who brought the public's attention towards this issue. History about the G.P.G.P.

Pictured-Charles Moore
Source:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/5208645/Drowning-in-plastic-The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch-is-twice-the-size-of-France.html   The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so big that it is divided up into 2 separate patches.
1. Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch
2. Western Pacific Garbage Patch
The Eastern Patch (the one I’m focusing on) is located in the North Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. The Western Pacific Garbage Patch is located between Hawaii and Japan. It is quite smaller than the Eastern Patch.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in general covers hundreds of miles of the ocean consisting of plastics, other various garbage, and debris.
The plastics within these garbage patches are NOT biodegradable and that is the problem. However, they do photo degrade. The light breaks these plastics into smaller pieces and they continue to float either on top, or beneath the water. These tiny little pieces are less than 5mm long. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is known more of as a “soup."
Only the large pieces of garbage are seen by the naked eye. The little tiny plastics are often called marine debris. “For example, foam carry-out containers (made of polystyrene) and bottle caps (made of polypropylene) are items that would be considered plastic marine debris if found in our oceans or waterways.” Facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Pictured- Today's largest man-caused structure
Source:http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021212067 Do you ever see your friends randomly throw their trash on the ground? If so, STOP them!
The number one cause of the creation of the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch is the action of littering.
“Not all garbage ends up at the dump. A river, sewer or beach can't catch everything the rain washes away, either." In fact, Earth's largest landfill isn't on land at all. Any type of trash can enter the ocean and become part of this garbage patch. However, most of the trash consists of plastic material. Scientists have actually collected 750,000 bits of plastic in only a square kilometer.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was caused by 80% land run off and 20% ship dumping of plastic. This large number of plastic waste is very harmful not only to the environment, but the animals and organisms that are within the Pacific Ocean. The Formation of the Garbage Patch- Picture-Descriptions of parameter values including baseline values, ranges, units, and references, excluding Styrofoam, located in this Garbage Patch.
Source: http://www.capital.edu/uploadedFiles/Capital/Academics/Services_and_Programs/Undergraduate_Research/Epistimi/Content/The%20Great%20Pacific%20Ocean%20Garbage%20Patch.pdf Staci Fallbeck Mesa Community College April 30, 2013 The Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch is a home to a numerous amount of animals. For example, dolphins, different species of birds and fish, and so many more are located within these waters. Everyone knows that plastic is not biodegradable. Biodegradable objects are able to be broken down and decomposed by organisms and bacteria. Since plastic can not decompose 100%, it remains in these gyres and keeps circulating around. The problem with having plastic floating around in the ocean, is that these plastics trick organisms and creatures.
As creatures and organisms are swimming along, they often times eat these tiny pieces of plastic, because they mistake them for food. “These organisms are then eaten by small fish and the plastic enters the food chain." The food chain is very vital for survival in any ocean and towards every bit of life. A food chain is a natural process of how an organism, or animal obtains their food. As larger animals, including seagulls, whales, and fish eat larger bits of plastic, they slowly begin to die. What happens when all of the animals and organisms die out due to this plastic issue? Every plant, animal, and organisms is harmed and affected by the presence of plastics in the ocean.
Also, another affect towards the food chain within the ocean, is the fact that algae and plankton are threatened by these plastics. These plastics can cover the surface of the water and prevent sunlight from reaching these organisms. “Algae and plankton are the most common autotrophs in the marine food web." That means, they can produce their own nutrients. When these organisms die out, then the animals who feed on them will die too. Once again, the food chain will be altered. The Animals & Creatures Picture- Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Source: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1 This turtle mistook this plastic bag for a jelly fish. Picture- Bird found dead full of plastic
Source: http://www.oceanicdefense.org/campaigns/Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch.html The Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch can also affect us as a society. As a whole, we as human beings love food. We eat at least 3 times a day and often try to eat the foods that will give us the most energy. There is a lot of protein contained in sea food. However, fish and other animals that are caught for our own benefit in this garbage patch, can actually harm us. “These plastic pieces may absorb and transport hazardous chemicals such as PCBs."




Picture-Structure of Polychloinated Biphenyl (PCB) Molecule
Source: http://www.epa.gov/hudson/pcbs101.htm




Once these plastics are in the stomachs of a living creature, more harm can portray. For example, when fishermen capture fish near this garbage patch, they might catch fish that have hazardous chemicals within them. Because these fish ate smaller organisms that ate the plastic, they too can be harmed. Once these fish are killed and cleaned for human consumption, we can get the bad end of the deal. The effects of consuming harmful chemicals like PCBs can lead to poor development of the brain and nervous system in a young child and can increase a risk of cardiovascular disease. There are other hazardous chemicals like mercury and dioxins, but polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are very common in plastic. WE are affected Creating organizations to help cause this issue from growing is one way society can contribute to the Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch. Charles Moore, who was the founder of this garbage patch, has his own organization in which he created. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is an organization created by Moore that is very determined in helping decrease the amount of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. This organization’s mission statement is that the “Algalita is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education, and restoration." Also, this organization believes that there needs to be more places to throw away our waste and to make things out of plastic that will work for a long time.

However, it is so hard for them to pick up all of the garbage and the tiny plastic pieces. There is too much for one organization to do it all! Even with their nets, they often times catch the small sea animals without trying to. There are many other organizations that help with this cause. Youth groups, college students who are majoring in marine biology, and other scientists take part in this issue. By joining an organization, or making one, you too can help prevent more garbage in the Pacific Ocean.
Picture-Working toward a plastic pollution-free world through field research, analysis, and education
Source: http://www.algalita.org/index.php We can also help by not littering as much. Once the trash enters the gyre, then there is little way for it to escape. Therefore, trash will constantly build up and affect the ocean and its creatures in so many ways. This act of not caring by missing the trashcan, will result in environmental damage. Often times, untreatable sewage is able to flow into the ocean. This is a huge problem, because of the items that are contained within that contaminated water.
Another helpful idea that would cause the garbage patch to not be such a huge issue, is the fact that we as a society use too many plastic products. “The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year. “Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times." If the amount of plastic products were decreased, then the chances of the non-biodegradable materials would be more slim. How much plastic do you use? Picture-Who's littering?
Source: http://justingrimes.weebly.com/who-litters.html 1-"About Us." Algalita Marine Research Institute -. Algalita, 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.algalita.org/about-us/index.html>.

2- Berg, Linda R., Mary Catherine. Hager, and David M. Hassenzahl. Visualizing Environmental Science. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011. Print.

3- Grant, Richard. "Drowning in Plastic: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Twice the Size of France." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/5208645/Drowning-in-plastic-The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch-is-twice-the-size-of-France.html>.

4- "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." - National Geographic Education. National Geographic Society, 1996-2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. <http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1>.

5- Grimes, Justin. "Who Litters? - Littering." Littering. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. <http://justingrimes.weebly.com/who-litters.html>.

6- "Oceanic Defense - Our Campaigns: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Oceanic Defense - Our Campaigns: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Oceanic Defense, 2009. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. <http://www.oceanicdefense.org/campaigns/Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch.html>.

7-"PCBs and Chemistry." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 05 Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://www.epa.gov/hudson/pcbs101.htm>.

8- "Plastic Marine Debris: What We Know." Marine Debris Program. NOAA Marine Debris, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/plastic.html>.

9- “The Largest Human Caused Structure. Can You Guess What It Is?" - Democratic Underground. Democratic Underground, 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. <http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021212067>.

10-Tracht, Samantha, and Subathra Thanabalan. "The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch." N.p., 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <http://www.capital.edu/uploadedFiles/Capital/Academics/Services_and_Programs/Undergraduate_Research/Epistimi/Content/The%20Great%20Pacific%20Ocean%20Garbage%20Patch.pdf>.

11- "Waste and Recycling Facts." Clean Air Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html>. References-
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