Featured Image Credit: The Ocean Cleanup
The “larger than Texas” collection of the world’s largest assortment of floating trash isn’t mostly plastic bottles, bags, and straws, but massive amounts of fishing gear.
“I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high. Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally—20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land” says Laurent Lebreton, oceanographer, and the lead author or Ocean Cleanup.
The Great Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California was first discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore who sailed through the debris on his way to Los Angeles.
Now, the patch is aimed to be cleaned up by the $32 million cleanup campaign, Ocean Cleanup, which has plans to launch a system to remove most of the fish gear later this year.
“The interesting piece is that at least half of what they’re finding is not consumer plastics, which are central to much of the current debate, but fishing gear,” says George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy.
The Foresight Future of the Sea study estimated that the pollution of plastic in the ocean could triple by 2050 if no changes happen to improve the state of the sea.
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