The Seventh Continent

For a week, keep the plastic waste of your family. Then lay them on the floor. How much does this waste plate? A few square meters? Imagine now if all the families of the Earth kept their plastics to cover the largest possible surface. How many square kilometers would this surface measure? One could practically create a seventh continent with. But it already exists. In the Pacific Ocean, there is a waste plate measuring about 2700 kilometers. Imagine an area three times the size of Quebec (about 4.5 million km²). The area, which is nearly 30 meters deep, contains about 3.5 million tons of waste, mostly plastic.


How is it possible?

Each year, out of 100 million tons of plastic produced each year, about 10% end up in the ocean. Of this percentage, 70% flow while the rest is allowed to rock by sea currents. From North America and Asia, this waste can drift for years to reach the seventh continent in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The North Pacific Waste Plate was created because of different marine currents that meet. The current of the North Pacific, the current of California, the north equatorial current and the current Kuro Shivo converge in what is called an oceanic gyre. The currents collide, Creating oceanic eddies that take hostage as hostages. The waste remains caught in the eddies, forming this famous “plastic soup” or “vortex of garbage”.

Are there any dangers for marine animals?

Plastics, made up of extremely toxic products such as DDT and PCB, take more than 500 years to decompose. They accumulate and, over time, disintegrate and transform into small particles, forming a sort of floating sand. What should we think of this harmful sand which, for hungry marine animals, resembles strangely their food? Fish and seabirds accumulate plastic particles in their stomachs that are impossible to digest. More than 267 marine species are victims of the questionable matter of the seventh continent. And, food chain compels, this problem will touch us one day.


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