Is there really a plastic island?

How plastic islands are formed

The first fully synthetic plastic was manufactured in 1907, Bakelite, at that time was a great invention in favor of the environment, since it allowed not to use more ivory to make billiard balls, nor more turtle shells to make combs, among other things. What they did not imagine was that a century later the solution would be the cause of a catastrophe as big as the one that is affecting our oceans, the so-called plastic islands.

These plastic islands (“garbage patch”) are accumulations of non-biodegradable garbage that due to the effect of ocean currents have been grouping together until they have become what we know today as garbage islands.

In 1988, this environmental problem was already predicted when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted studies measuring plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. Finally, in 1997, the first garbage island in the Pacific Ocean was documented by Captain and oceanographer Charles Moore.

Where the plastic islands are located

Concern for the care of the environment is global: refugees also carry out actions aimed at caring for the planet. In the refugee camps of Sanliurfa or Kilis in Turkey, various recycling schemes are planned: a waste transfer station and a fleet of vehicles to transport waste for further treatment.

In Egypt, refugees are working alongside the local community to combat plastic pollution in the Nile River. Fifty refugee volunteers from Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Ethiopia and Yemen joined 800 Egyptian citizens to try to reduce pollution in the river, whose ecosystem is threatened by waste.

Plastic islands 2021

It speaks of an elevation sixteen times higher than previous studies, an alarming and worrying growth. It is estimated, in turn, that it contains about 80,000 tons of plastic. Thus, the so-called garbage island is one of the largest concentrations of plastic of a magnitude never recorded.

Laurent Lebreton, the lead author of the study, from The Ocean Cleanup Foundation in the Netherlands, has stated, given the increasing concentration of plastic, that “the situation is getting worse. This highlights the urgency to take action to stop the arrival of plastics in the ocean and to clean up the mess that has already been made.

Because no one has taken care of the garbage island so far.

Studies being carried out in many countries warn that these large clusters of plastics are currently one of the major problems facing society. Formed by bags, containers or different objects, this type of islands have become large garbage stains that deteriorate the waters around the world, also harming the creatures that live in them.

The main responsible for the appearance of these islands is the human being, by means of the garbage that he generates and that, through different ways, ends up in the bottom of the sea. However, it is important to bear in mind, when analyzing the development of this type of environmental problem, that despite their name, they are not only composed of pieces of plastic.  In fact, there are many origins of such formation.

Although society is becoming increasingly aware of the problems caused by these plastic islands, the truth is that it is important to analyze the consequences that this type of formation can have on the planet Earth. One of them is related to the death of living beings that are part of the marine ecosystem, in addition to the different animal and plant species that are already in danger of extinction because of this pollution.