WHAT IS A GYRE?
Unlike natural substances, such as wood or metal, plastic does not disintegrate into organics substances. It simply breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. These tiny plastic particles are as small as the algae and plankton that form the basis of the entire ocean food web.
Research shows an overwhelming amount of plastic in the stomach contents of albatross, marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and other marine life. Hundreds of species mistake plastics for their natural food. These plastic
particles and corresponding toxins bio-accumulate up the food chain until they reach the top predators. Where the toxins could not have detrimental affects. The tiny plastic particles that make up most of the garbage patches are also very difficult and expensive to detect and remove.
An ocean gyre is a large system of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by Earth’s rotation. The movement of the world’s major ocean gyres helps drive the “ocean conveyor belt.” The ocean conveyor belt circulates ocean water around the entire planet. It is essential for regulating temperature, salinity and nutrient flow throughout the ocean. Ocean gyres circle large areas of stationary, calm water.
Debris drifts into these areas and, due to the region’s lack of movement, can accumulate for years. These regions are called garbage patches. The garbage patch in the North Pacific Ocean is sometimes called the Pacific trash vortex or The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
HOW IS THIS AFFECTING US?
Microplastics are commonly found in food sources, particularly seafood.
It is not just sea creatures that have plastic in their bodies. Now, studies show that humans have plastic in us as well. A number of studies have shown there are microplastics present in the food we eat. This may result in humans consuming dangerous levels of microplastics and toxins.
Very few studies have examined how microplastics affect human health and disease. One study found that plastic fibers were present in 87% of the human lungs studied. The researchers proposed this may be due to microplastics present in the air. Unfortunately, microplastics are present throughout the environment, including in the air, water and food. Seafood, particularly shellfish, contains high concentrations of microplastics that may accumulate in your body after you eat these foods. How microplastics affect human health is currently unclear. However, results from animal and test-tube studies suggest they may have negative effects. Reducing your use of plastic food packaging is one of most effective ways you can reduce plastic in the environment and in the food chain. It’s a step that will benefit the environment and probably your health, as well. READ MORE
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