The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. It spans all the way from North America to Japan. The garbage patch is made up of tons and tons of plastic floating in the ocean continuously rotating in the currents and waves of the Pacific. The garbage patch is not necessarily big pieces of trash floating in the ocean but rather tiny, almost microscopic particles of plastic. The sea life that live in the ocean are being affected by this because they are mistaking the plastic for food and therefore eating it. The fact that the garbage patch is full of tiny plastic particles makes the problem a whole lot harder to solve.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch not only affects marine life and the environment but also the life and dignity of the human person. It affects life because the fish are eating the plastic. Therefore if we eat the fish we are also going to get plastic in our system. Plastic is not good for anyone to digest and too much of it can cause diseases and illnesses. The plastic is not good for us but we will most likely not have the same fate the fish have because the reason they are dying is because they are substituting their food for plastic.
The fish then are not getting any nutrients from the plastic and therefore starving to death. We also have a responsibility to the environment, to the community and to ourselves. We need to take responsibility for what we are doing to the oceans and the sea life. Not just one country can clean it up on their own it will take many to take responsibility and come together to clean up our ocean and sea life.
The estimated weight of the garbage is 7 million tons and the amount of money it would take to clean it up would bankrupt any country (McLendon, Russell). The plastic that is in the ocean is not just from one country but from many different countries. It will not do any good if only one country takes responsibility because there is still no way that they will be able to clean it up all on their own.
It will only make a difference if the countries come together and take responsibility together. The Pacific garbage patch affects every person including the poor and vulnerable. It affects them especially because they are more reliant on the environment than wealthier people are. The poor can’t just buy whatever they want they have to make do with what they have and if what they have is polluted then it makes life so much harder for them. For the poor and vulnerable we should stop polluting our oceans and do our best to solve the issue at hand. We are all called to participate in society and in our community.
The way to solve the problem of the Pacific garbage patch is to come together around the world and come to a solution. When we come together we are much more effective in making decisions and coming up with solutions. It is more effective with others because you have different perspectives and different strengths and weaknesses mixed among the group.
Going along with the call to family, community and participation, solidarity is also an important theme to uphold. These two themes are similar in the idea that everyone should be united and work together with the community and with society. The world as a whole needs to come to consensus on what to do about the issue of this enormous garbage patch and also to cut back on the amounts of plastic we use as a society. Finally the last theme is care for god’s creation. This means we should treat the environment we live in with respect and care.
The earth is not ours to treat how we please but its a place where a community of people live. The people on earth can’t live here if its polluted and stipped of its natural resources. We need to be conscious about what we do and how we are treating our home.
There is not a planet B, we should not think that we can just move away from earth once it’s unlivable. We need to come together and do everything in our power to protect the earth and keep it clean of pollution. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is very big and extensive. It would take a lot of time and money to clean it all up. If countries come together and come up with some solutions the process of cleaning it up would not be so laborious as it would be if it was only one country was cleaning it up. Some solutions to the problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch could be go out and start cleaning it out with nets and boats. This would take a very long time to eliminate a significant chunk of the garbage patch but every little bit helps. Another solution could be where “The Ocean Cleanup will deploy long floating barriers, using the natural movement of the ocean currents to passively concentrate the plastic itself.
It works as practically all of the current will flow underneath the barriers preventing any bycatch of sea-life, whilst the lighter-than-water plastic objects will be collected in front of the floating barriers.” (Murch, Craig) This project would not only clean up the oceans of plastic but also create a map of how much plastic pollution is really in the Pacific Ocean. If these machines were in a 100 km radius and were collecting plastic for 10 years it is estimated that half of the garbage patch would be cleaned up. If this is all true then I think that it would be worth our time and money to make these barriers and deploy them into the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific garbage patch is affecting the marine life in our oceans. They are eating and getting trapped in all the plastic that never degrades because it is not biodegradable. The plastic expands into tinier and tinier pieces, breaking apart making it near impossible to clean up. One other solution could be to make more plastics biodegradable. If all plastics were biodegradable the plastic would eventually disintegrate instead of just breaking into tiny pieces. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an issue that is getting out of hand and if we do not act soon we may have to face devastating consequences. If we all come together and come to consensus on how we are going to solve the issue the process will go much smoother and will be a lot easier. If the world as a whole stops using the large amounts of plastic we do right now, we could help slow the expansion of the garbage patch.
Pope Francis goes to say in his letter about caring for the earth, “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”. He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization” (Laudato Si) This quote from Laudato Si is saying that if we keep going down the same route we will eventually hit catastrophe. We need to take care in what we are doing and be conscious about the earth’s needs and how much we are actually taking from the earth. When we take from the earth we also need to give back, it can be as simple as planting a tree or picking up litter. Even though these things seem small it still makes a difference.
In conclusion it is important to be aware of how we treat the earth. Its our home and we should treat it with the respect and care it deserves. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an expanding issue that can only get worse and worse if nothing is done about it. So we need to come together and take action.
The earth needs our help in order to maintain a healthy environment.