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August 7, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Garbage Patch Suffocating Marine Life

A marine conservation team from Algalita Marine Research Foundation, led by oceanographer Charles Moore, has found at least one million square kilometers of plastic in the South Pacific Ocean. The “garbage patch” is made up of a concentrated mass of microplastic debris.

The patch is believed to have a significant impact on the lives of marine animals.

Director of VUW’s Coastal Ecology Lab, Jeff Shima, told Salient that the new research “confirms what many scientists already know.”

Shima said that the high concentration of plastic is surprisingly common. The plastic accumulates at points where currents, winds, and other ocean features come together to form high areas of concentration.

Marine animals in the garbage patch are likely to consume the plastic materials, particularly as large volumes of debris become coated with algae.

Marine Ecologist and VUW lecturer James Bell said that the negative impacts are likely to affect all marine organisms, “from seabirds through to filter feeders living on the seabed.”

According to conservation group, SEE Turtles, the number of marine animals being affected is vast. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than one million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.”

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