Garbage Patch in the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre

by Chloe Mayne

The marine environment contains a large amount of anthropogenic plastic pollution. While the Northern Hemisphere subtropical gyres (NHSG) have been found to contain plastics, there have been no data to suggest the existence of plastic pollution in the Southern Hemisphere subtropical gyres (SHSG). Recently, a large amount of plastic pollution has been found in the Southern Pacific Ocean and along the coastal shores. It has began to negatively impact fishing, tourism and navigation. In addition to the South Pacific, large amounts of plastic have also been found in the Southern Ocean and near Antarctica. In order to look at the presence of microplastics in the South Pacific subtropical gyre, Eriksen et al. (2013) surveyed a transect that crossed directly through the gyre and took 48 samples.  This transect was based on an accumulation zone created by currents and wind. The study found a greater amount of surface plastic pollution near the center of the transect than on the edges. These data prove… Continue reading