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On Oceanic Garbage Patches

Why is it so important that we refuse single-use plastic and other materials? Because those materials are often not disposed of correctly (even municipal trash collection and disposal has its issues) and end up in terrifying oceanic gyres called garbage patches (which also have a significant amount of ship waste and fishing gear within them). The gyres themselves are natural phenomena to do with ocean tides, but because of human waste, they're now filled with garbage [1, 2].

When I first learned about the garbage patches 10 years ago, I imagined floating islands of plastic bottles. However, the garbage patches are more nefarious because the garbage isn't all floating on the surface, and it isn't all concentrated into neat island-like shapes. The patches are areas of high garbage density, much of which is floating slightly below the surface. The density is higher in the center and lower around the edges, making measuring and alleviating the garbage very difficult [1].

How c…

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