Scientists find coastal life on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | December 2, 2021

Coastal marine species are making new communities on the gloating Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The species included mussels, barnacles, and shrimp-like amphipods.

Plants and animals are developing and reproducing on a gyre of marine debris particles that sit in the Pacific Ocean. According to NBC News, scientists have discovered over 40 species growing on the floating mass. Most of the debris is plastic. Prior to this finding, researchers did not know plants and animals could live in such conditions.

The patch is 610,000 square miles and hosts 79,000 metric tons of bottles, buoys, microplastics, and nets, reported EcoWatch. The team of four researchers does not know how widespread the species are and if any have found homes in other garbage gyres.

The research shows the ocean provides enough food to sustain the species living on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch itself was brought together by ocean currents and was first found in 1997. Multiple generations of various species were found by scientists, indicating the species have survived on the patch for years.

Waterloo students promote recycling

Photo by Kevin Krejci, Flickr

Students at Lowell Elementary School in Waterloo took part in a series of projects to highlight the negative environmental impact of plastic litter.

One project involved collecting 600 old T-shirts and stitching them into reusable grocery bags. The students also wrote a book tracking the journey of a plastic bag as it travels from the grocery store to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The book and bags will be sold at a community event next Saturday. The proceeds will go towards ocean clean-up and marine animal rescue.

Read the WCF Courier’s full article on the students’ efforts here.