It is not yet sure if collecting the plastic will start with the Great Pacific garbage patch or with the waste found off coast
(Mirror Daily, United States) – After considering different possibilities, a team of researchers found out how to get rid of the plastic polluting the ocean in the most efficient way.
It looks like the world’s population is more aware of pollution and global warming than it has ever been. Thankfully, there are many people who understand that limiting air pollution is not enough and we have to do something to clean the soil and water as well.
One of the most important water pollutants, besides toxic substances coming from plants and reaching the ocean, is plastic. The amount of plastic waste found in the ocean, as well as in rivers, is amazing. The objects range from bottles and plastic bags to microbeads and all of them affect the animals and ecosystem in one way or another.
Marine animals will either ingest plastic or get caught in it, which will lead to them getting sick or dying. And if you happen to be one of the people who don’t care much about what happens to the fish, think about it this way: if you buy a fish and when you try to eat it you discover it has ingested a plastic cap, are you still willing to eat it?
Anyway, the big problem is the Great Pacific garbage patch, which according to calculations is about twice as big as the UK. Obviously, people want to get rid of it and clean up the ocean. But going into the middle of the ocean to collect plastics might not be that easy.
Besides, according to a team of oceanographers and physicists, the biggest amount of plastics is actually off coasts and it would make sense to clean those areas first. The main reason is that if the plastic would be gathered before getting into the open ocean, it would bring less harm to the environment. Plus, if they clean up the Great Pacific garbage patch first, it will soon look grow back as the plastic waste will keep on coming from off coast.
In the study, published in the Environmental Research Letters, the researchers made up a pattern of how the plastic moves to find the best areas from which the garbage should start being collected. Moreover, they designed a ten years plan, estimating how much plastic waste can be collected in that time if the collectors will be gathering garbage near coasts in China or Indonesia.
According to their estimations, 31 percent of the oceans’ plastic could be removed compared to only 1 percent that would be collected from the patch. Moreover, it could reduce harm by 46 percent, whereas if they only clean the patch it would mean only a 14 percent reduction.
All in all, hopefully authorities will take the right decision and our oceans will become cleaner and plastic-free.
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