Having such a large amount of trash in the ocean is obviously affecting the aquatic life, but how? One thing that happens to these aquatic creatures is they physically get caught in the trash that collects. Among this trash are ropes, nets, and plastic beverage rings that trap the animals, causing them the inability to move around freely. Animals also eat the trash and it gets lodged inside them. Unable to decompose completely, it ultimately leads to their deaths. About one hundred thousand sea mammals and about one million fish are killed each year from the accumulated trash. Even smaller organisms like jellyfish and plankton are beginning to ingest the plastic.
It isn’t just ocean animals the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is affecting though. This trash is very detrimental to birds as well. These plastic bits are confusing to seabirds because the birds mistake them for food. The birds are not only choking on the plastic objects, but they are also trying to use the plastic as a food source to give to their young. Obviously these plastic objects have no nutritional value whatsoever so these birds are essentially starving to death by mistaking the plastic as food.
So how does this all affect humans? Well plastic, mainly after photo-degradation, attracts toxic substances and poisons. Fish then ingest these plastic poisons and we eat the fish!
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Good Morning America…