Plastic Islands in the Oceans
Plastic islands are huge floating clusters of microplastics that form in the oceans. This phenomenon occurs due to the convergence between the vast amount of waste, mainly plastic, produced and discarded inappropriately by contemporary society and the influence of certain marine currents that generate vortices, known as rotating or circular currents.
Plastic is a material that we use abundantly in our daily lives and takes approximately 450 years to degrade. Currently, several of these plastic islands are scattered throughout the oceans. The five largest are distributed as follows: two in the Pacific Ocean, two in the Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean. Interestingly, these areas coincide with the five largest ocean eddies. The largest of them is in the North Pacific, covering an area of 1,6 million km² and made up of around 80.000 tons of plastic that grows every day.
The environmental impact of these islands is immense! It affects not only marine life but also human health. Many marine animals meet a tragic fate when they become trapped on islands or ingest the plastic waste that accumulates there. If an animal survives after ingestion, plastic waste enters the marine food chain and ultimately reaches human tables. This can result in a process known as bioaccumulation that causes serious harm to human health.
To better understand the severity of this socio-environmental problem and its consequences, we recommend the materials below:
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