The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is indeed the biggest global collection region of marine plastic waste. It is midway between Hawaii and California, and things are rapidly deteriorating. Since the 1970s, researchers have been sorting plastic in the field. The large bulk of the polymer mass discovered in the GPGP is in the form of large pieces. Even so, because they’re not handled or due to UV lights, they can degrade into toxic microplastics in the next few decades. Luckily, in Europe, a scientist created a basic but brilliant concept. Boyan Slat, a scientist who determined when he was just sixteen that he wanted to create a technology that can solve the issue of plastic waste in the marine environment, created the Ocean Cleanup. Boyan and his colleagues pictured a network comprising broad floating displays that’d compact the plastic, allowing us to remove, store, and transport it to shore. Ocean Cleanup’s hope has come true, and it deployed the first hovering barriers in 2018.
And Yet, What Exactly Is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
GPGP covers an area of 1.5 million square kilometers within the Northern Pacific Ocean. Plastic accounts for 98% of the underwater waste contained in GPGP. GPGP comprises over 1.9 trillion bits of plastic, or 249 pieces, for every person on this planet. The gross weight is 8,000 tons, which would be equal to 500 huge jets. GPGP is three times the scale of France and doubles the scale of Texas. In 2015, 30 vessels from the Ocean Cleanup project passed the patch and gathered 1.1 million waste samples.
The Massive Expedition even recovered a substantial number of fishing nets, which are one of the most serious threats to aquatic life. GPGP’s initial aerial surveillance mission occurred in October of 2016. Fishing nets and abandoned fishing gear make up half of the floating debris in the GPGP. The average amount of plastic in GPGP is 4 to 16 times greater than past estimates have revealed. Amid thousands of unusual items floating throughout GPGP, Ocean Cleanup workers discovered a 1977 disposable crate.
GPGP waterways have 178 times higher plastic than sea animals by mass. The concentration degrees in the middle of the GPGP are the largest, exceeding dozens of kg/km2 and dropping to 10 kg/km2 in the outer area. The overwhelming bulk of plastics in GPGP are hard or rigid polyethylene, polypropylene, or a combination of the two (PP) and fishing tools. The majority of buoyant microplastic particles in GPGP are on or above the water’s surface, within 0 and 5 meters deep. Utilizing 50 HDPE floating structures, Ocean Cleanup aims to clear half of GPGP in 5 years.
But Is This All Fine?
Ocean cleanups may not just be a viable option due to the dynamic powers at play and the miniature scale of microplastics. As per NOAA, cleaning up only about 1% of the Northern Pacific Ocean will take 68 ships a whole year. Furthermore, today’s technology can endanger marine life, snatching them up together with the garbage they’re attempting to collect. The other thing would be that ocean cleanups do not address the root cause of the crisis. What occurs with plastic waste after they collect it? It surely doesn’t vanish.
Recycling Would Not Fix The Issue. Just 9% Of All Plastic Pollution Collected Has Indeed Been Recycled.
As a result, Oceana’s programs urge businesses to sell plastic-free options and policymakers to pass laws restricting single-use plastics. Proactive rather than reactive strategies would be needed to clear up our waters and get it over with. It is time to debunk the misconceptions and to save the oceans against plastic pollution.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Plastic Island, Trash Island, whatever you decide to name it. This huge accumulation of debris is found between California and Hawaii and is becoming bigger every day, which is unsafe for the planet. It is important to stop using single-use plastics and be more conscious about your effect on the environment to make a difference.