How Much Trash Is In Our Ocean?

by 4Ocean Team January 20, 2017 29 Comments

How Much Trash Is In Our Ocean?

Every minute, one garbage truck worth of plastic is dumped into the ocean. Yearly, a colossal 1.4 billion pounds of trash ends up in our beautiful oceans. Of this waste, much of it is plastic.

How Does This Much Trash Get in the Ocean?

There are many reasons why this huge amount of trash enters our oceans every single day. One reason is due to poor trash management by the Waste Management Department in many regions of the world. In Ghana, a state in Africa, the Waste Management Department is currently capable of collecting only 60% of the waste generated daily. The rest is dumped in open spaces, surface drains, and into bodies of water. This is a prime example of how even when we properly dispose of our trash in appropriate containers and it is collected and brought to a landfill, our waste can still find its way, whether directly or indirectly, into our oceans. The best way to eliminate the amount of trash in our landfills is to recycle all glass, plastics, papers, and aluminum products. 80% of the trash that can be found in our landfills is recyclable. This is a staggering number than can be drastically decreased if more people made recycling a part of their everyday life.

To date, there have been 275 billion plastic bags produced worldwide in just 2017 alone. Every second, a massive amount of 160,000 plastic bags are being produced and used. By the end of this year, we will have used 5 billion plastic bags. According to The World Count of these 5 billion bags, 5 million of them will make their way into the ocean either indirectly due to things like poor waste management, or directly by people who unfortunately do not know the significant consequences to the environment from their actions. Additionally, only less than 1% of these used plastic bags are properly recycled. This is why plastic is the number one and most serious source of pollution in the ocean.

Where Does All the Trash Go?

Once the trash reaches the ocean, where does it all go? You may be at the beach and not see any trash around you and wonder how there can be over 5.25 trillion pieces and counting. One of the main places our trash travels to is The North Pacific Ocean Gyre, or as most people known it as, the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch. An ocean gyre is defined as a system of circular ocean currents formed by the Earth's wind patterns and the forces created by the rotation of the planet (National Geographic). Despite its name, there is nothing great about this swirling mass of trash that is four times the size of Texas. This ocean gyre has become so filled with trash, that it was once thought you could see it from space. That theory has since been proven wrong (March 2018) and is actually worse than we imagined. Much of the trash found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is microplastic.

Why here? The Great Pacific Patch has the strongest currents of all the five ocean gyres and is located between the Hawaiian Islands and California. Unfortunately, most of the trash from around the world travels here through currents and gets sucked into the swirling mass where it remains until it can decompose in time. And the most common found trash in this swirling vortex? You guessed it - plastic.

 

Watch NOAA's video to learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by clicking on the link below:

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch



4Ocean Team
4Ocean Team

Author

29 Responses

Lynnette Cooke
Lynnette Cooke

July 02, 2018

I just bought 3 glass reusable drinking straws a week ago. I will make it a point to use paper or my reusable shopping bags. I have to admit I’ve been to casual about just accepting plastic store bags.
Is there a valid possibility of making bottle/mesh bag islands? How would they hold up during hurricanes or tsunamis? Would they work in arctic temperatures? Maybe they could help the polar bears have more room to live and hunt? Building them with holes for the seals to reach air. Sometimes God given ingenuity can overcome man made problems
Papa God Bless you <3

Solar
Solar

June 29, 2018

Nonononon nonono nonono

Jennifer Vega
Jennifer Vega

June 29, 2018

My family and I are going to try and stop usong plastic as much as we can. I knew there was a problem but I had no idea it was that devastating and disasterous. We need to save our oceans.

Aiden Zhou
Aiden Zhou

June 29, 2018

:( this has made a big hole in my heart.

Deborah Hughes
Deborah Hughes

June 21, 2018

So, we can all do our part. First avoid using anything wrapped in plastic, then avoid using single use plastic. If there is an alternative, choose that. At first it’s hard, but like any change it becomes ingrained. We should all be making choices to reduce any trash, but especially plastic and styrofoam. They do not biodegrade. They just become smaller and smaller particles and turn into “Plankton” “soil” and “air”. Also we should avoid using chemicals as much as possible as they are also ruining Earth and causing birth defects in our children and disease in us.

bob
bob

June 19, 2018

this is so sad i wish that all the plastic was biodegradable

Isis Smith
Isis Smith

June 19, 2018

It is a huge issue that we have to live in this situation and we have a huge vortex in the ocean.

Isis Smith
Isis Smith

June 19, 2018

It is a huge issue that we have to live in this situation and we have a huge vortex in the ocean.

Andreah Werner
Andreah Werner

June 19, 2018

We love the project and would love to learn more in order to better support this worthy cause

Rose
Rose

June 19, 2018

its So sad to see the detrimental effect plastic and rubbish are doing to our oceans ! I have bought one of your bracelets and they are brilliant ! You are a great company !

Elaine Jobe
Elaine Jobe

June 13, 2018

In Cancun Mexico an Island has been made out of plastic bottles. It is amazing. Net sacks contain plastic bottles filled with air… mangroves trees growing on top hold it together. The us light can not deteriorate the bottles because they are underneath. This guy has a three bedroom house on his bottle Island.

sam goldberg
sam goldberg

June 13, 2018

i strongly believe the fact of clearing litter in the sea!

Fiona Heyink
Fiona Heyink

June 13, 2018

We really need to do something about this.We are killing our planet and everything that lives on it

Micheal
Micheal

June 13, 2018

Thx for this awesome information

bob
bob

May 29, 2018

good boy
so sad
so sad
so sad
so sad
so sad

Balem Asekim
Balem Asekim

May 25, 2018

I think better waste management is the key.If we are going to ban plastics then most of our virgin forest in the world are going to disappear.

Carter
Carter

May 23, 2018

I am 11 years old and I am doing a speech topic about rubbish in the ocean, but I never knew that there was so much rubbish being wasted! we need to stop pollution right now so further generations will have a nice clean and healthy planet to live on .XD:-)

Alice
Alice

May 22, 2018

Can you stop throwing to much garbage is side our beautiful ocean we have to do at least something about the pollution that we are doing.

elke foster
elke foster

May 22, 2018

people are the only animals on earth that suck

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jyfjyfjyfjfjgv

May 02, 2018

this so sad

Adelie Joyce
Adelie Joyce

April 26, 2018

I love the work that is done! It actually is making a change in the world and that is pretty cool to think about.

Samantha Kish
Samantha Kish

April 26, 2018

I agree it is horibal how much trash in the ocean. it is unbelievable how much you have done to help are inviorment. I. Give you guy’s. 5 gold ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Xavier Duncan
Xavier Duncan

April 27, 2018

Hey so I am 11 years old and I go to childersburg middle school and we are doing this project and we need to stop ocean pollution because it is killing our animals and my reading teacher Mrs. Gable read us a passage and it is talking about microbeads and how it is in our freshwater and we need that a lot to drink we cannot drink ocean water and all of this pollution in the fresh waters we might run out of it. Also we need all the support we can get .

Mr. David William Michael Goodsell
Mr. David William Michael Goodsell

March 29, 2018

I would love to get involved in the fantastic work that ‘4Ocean’ carry out to rid our Oceans of plastic because I feel so passionate about the devastating consequences of plastic in our Oceans.

Regards,

David Goodsell

Inkom PTO
Inkom PTO

March 26, 2018

Everybody needs to stop water pollution as best as they can

That guy?
That guy?

February 20, 2018

Can I live there plz?!?!?!?!?!?

Long Chang
Long Chang

December 21, 2017

How do i start doing that here in cairns?

Adriele Benedetto
Adriele Benedetto

April 06, 2017

How can I bring my personal contribution in this cause ?

Abby Raubet
Abby Raubet

April 06, 2017

How can I work for you?

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