An Immense Mass Of Plastic Is Floating In The Arctic Ocean

immense mass of ice in the ocean

Surveys have shown that the Arctic Ocean has an immense mass of plastic bits floating around.


Many have heard of the Pacific Gyre, the central spot in the Pacific Ocean where a garbage patch of floating plastic the size of Texas has gathered. Accumulations have been found in other oceans around the world. Now, it looks like the Arctic has one as well.

An Immense Mass Of Some 300 Billion Bits of Plastic Is Floating In The Arctic Ocean

Right now, this immense mass is floating east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia. However, as the ice caps continue to diminish, it is expected to expand. Some scientists fear there may be even more of it. Some of this immense mass may have sunk to the ocean floor. As it passes through the water column, an enormous amount of this debris is making its way into the food chain. That is where it’s most devastating consequences may occur.This plastic does not dissolve. It can also not be digested by animals. Tiny bits and giant chunks are being found, not just entangled around wildlife, but within their digestive tract. The results are painful and often deadly.

The dual effect of warming due to climate change and this immense mass of trash is wreaking havoc on the Arctic and its fragile ecosystem. Many animal species already on edge due to receding ice and melting permafrost, are now being hit by this human-created mess. The particles are showing up in seals and walruses, who eat the fish that consumed them in the first place.
“The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.”
This is according to Erik van Sebille. He is the author of this new study, which was published in the Science Advances journal.
Reportedly, most of the immense mass of plastic could be prevented with more aggressive recycling and reclamation programs. Right now, allegedly only about 22% of our waste is recycled.

Image Source: Wikimedia

About Marlene R. Litten

Marlene has always been a journalist at heart, though her wordsmithing capabilities helped her contribute to a multitude of blogs before finally settling for the online press. She strongly advocates for those treated unjustly and likes to cover US and World news.