Case Study: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

1328 Words 6 Pages
Problem Statement
The purpose of this inquiry is to investigate the topicof debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with the main focus being the detrimental effects of plastic waste matteron sea birds.Scientists estimate that 90% of seabirds have consumed plastic debris (ChrisWilcoxa, 2015). The ingestion of plastic debris in seabirds can lead tostomach obstruction and death (Chris Wilcoxa, 2015). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a large mass of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean that is formed by a high pressure system called a ‘gyre’ (circulating ocean currents). Various sizes of plastic are the main substance in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Cousteau, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2010). Seabirds mistake the plastic particles as food, causing stomach obstruction and death in seabirds (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2017). Consequently, plastic debris is a causing factor in the decline of the endangered Tristan Albatross and Northern Royal Albatross (Harmful marine debris, 2003).

Rationale
This project was chosen because of confronting photos on social media of a deceased albatross with a large amount of plastic debris in its stomach (Kaushik, 2014).On beachfronts there is always plastic debris lying about that has
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Debris enters the ocean by; tides sweeping rubbish of the beach fronts, wind, intentional littering and debris from ships (Andrews, 2016). Plastic debris does not disintegrate, the sun breaks down the plastics into smaller particles called ‘micro plastics’; this process is called ‘photodegradation’ (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2017). These particles that are smaller than 5mm (Environmental Sciences Europe, 2014) therefore, marine animals confuse these dangerous microplastics for food. Consequently, seabirds are attracted to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch due to the large amount of plastic debris trapped in the

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