The amount of plastic debris in our oceans is growing exponentially, according to researchers at the Ocean CleanUp Foundation and a study recently published in the journal Scientific Reports. Current estimates of the amount of plastic in the Pacific Ocean stands at 87,000 tons, four to 16 times bigger than previously thought, and occupying an area roughly four times the size of California. Concerns are that large pieces of plastic rubbish will degrade into microplastics that can then enter our food chain.
What can be done? The Ocean CleanUp Foundation has developed a mechanical system that floats through the water and concentrates the plastics into denser areas that can be collected by boats and taken back to shore to be recycled. They plan to launch the first such system this summer from Alameda, California.
Full article at: NYTimes 22mar18
The density of ocean plastic in 1962 (top) compared to 2018 (bottom). Credit: Ocean Cleanup Foundation