What’s Waste?

When thinking about waste and trash, theres a lot of different things that can accumulate and collect in oceans and bodies of water. Even though these causes are different, they all have their main effect in the water and are a danger to the remaining life of that ecosystem.

  1. WRECKAGES. The first type of waste that accumulates in the water that isn’t usually thought of is debris from wreckages. These wrecks can come from boats, airplanes, or from cargo that falls off of transportation carriers. Ocean currents take the trashed debris and carries them thousands of miles across the sea to beaches where they wash up and collect. A newspaper primary source called, “Ocean junk: From Legos to suspected jet wreckage” discusses the latest news on the oceans revealing a latest news story. Off the shores of Reunion, a French island off the African coast has been experiencing controversy when parts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were suspected to washing up onto its shores. While surprising, it isn’t the only thing circulating the oceans waters. Other debris such as Legos to human corpses have found their way rotating around the waves on the shore.
  2. OIL POLLUTION. Obvious oil spills like the one caused by BP are spills that are well known to the public because of the media. Despite the major source of oil contamination in the water, there are others that are equally as important. One of most important and underrated source of oil are from automobiles. Flushed from the road during storms, oils travel down drains and find their way into the ocean causing lots of problems for the ecosystem.
  3. DISPOSED TRASH. Trash is one of the major issues in oceans today. One of the most contributed source is plastics. Over 32 million tons of plastics were produced in the U.S. alone in 2011, and it’s growing. Once plastics reach the ocean, they are easily transported by ocean currents, deposited on beaches, or trapped in gyres where they have been estimated to persist for tens to hundreds of years depending on their chemical composition. Most plastics have a relatively low melting point, so when they are out in the sun for long periods of time, they are able to break down and become microplastics. These small broken down pieces of plastic either float around in the ocean until they are consumed or washed ashore.  Of course, there are other items besides plastic that find their way into the ocean. All of them together pose the biggest threat to the ocean’s life and ecosystem.

Trailer for Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

“Every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet. So if it never goes away, where does it go?” 

The documentary “Plastic Paradise” answers the question above and provides insight to one of the largest garbages patches in the Pacific and the effect plastic and other trash has on it. The documentary also talks about the danger of chemicals and the effects they have on life itself.