GREAT PACIFIC PLASTIC PATCH CONTINUES TO GROW

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THE vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific ocean is now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined -- far larger than previously feared -- and is growing rapidly, a study published Thursday warned.

Researchers based in the Netherlands used a fleet of boats and aircraft to scan the immense accumulation of bottles, containers, fishing nets and microparticles known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (GPGP) and found an astonishing build-up of plastic waste.
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“We found about 80,000 tonnes of buoyant plastic currently in the GPGP,” Laurent Lebreton, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, told AFP.

That’s around the weight of 500 jumbo jets, and up to sixteen times greater than the plastic mass uncovered there in previous studies.

But what really shocked the team was the amount of plastic pieces that have built up on the marine gyre between Hawaii and California in recent years.

“The other environmental impact comes from the larger debris, especially the fishing nets,” said Lebreton.

These net fragments kill marine life by trapping fish and animals such as turtles in a process known as ‘ghost fishing’.

They found that the dump now contains around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, posing a dual threat to marine life.

Microplastics, tiny fragments of plastic smaller than 50mm in size that make up the vast majority of items in the GPGP, can enter the food chain when swallowed by fish.
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The pollutants they contain become more concentrated as they work their way up through the food web, all the way to top level predators such as sharks, seals and polar bears.

“The other environmental impact comes from the larger debris, especially the fishing nets,” said Lebreton.

These net fragments kill marine life by trapping fish and animals such as turtles in a process known as ‘ghost fishing’.

The Foundation’s team of 75 researchers and engineers plan to construct dozens of floating barriers to drift on the winds and currents and hoover up half the plastic in the patch within five years.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/conservation/pacific-plastic-dump-far-larger-than-feared-study/news-story/384311e7525dde2c3764644c91b75c12

Comments

  • Its going to be hard to follow thru with this pledge.
  • That water bottle you just purchased is likely contaminated with microplastic particles, according to a new investigation from researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia and journalism organization Orb Media.
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    Through an analysis of 259 water bottles from 11 brands sold across nine countries, including the United States, scientists found 93 percent were contaminated with an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water. That’s twice the amount of contamination typically found in tap water.

    According to the research, the plastic debris found in the water bottles included polypropylene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make bottle caps. The particles are likely a result of the industrial bottling and plastic packaging process.

    But the effects of these chemicals on human health, scientists say, are still unclear.

    “As much as 90 percent of ingested plastic could pass through a human body, but some of it may end up lodged in the gut, or traveling through the lymphatic system, according to research by the European Food Safety Authority,” Time reported.

    Previous research has linked synthetic chemicals often found in plastic to “certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,” Mason said, prompting calls for further studies on the possible health implications of plastics pollution.

    http://jessejones.com/story/aquafina-dasani-nestle-pure-life-contaminated-with-plastic-particles/

  • The industrialized nations have the resources to clean this up. For example, if the US Government spend just 0.01 percent of its annual defense budget on this problem, it could be quickly resolved.
  • imageSea biodiversity is lost forever.
  • If plastic bags and styrofoam plates and cups were banned, there would be less trash in our oceans.
  • All trash/plastic found in Pohnpei waters comes from Pohnpei, not other countries. Streams are treated like trash cans. Go to any reef or off shores waters in Pohnpei and you will find tons, and I mean tons of trash in the water. Something needs to be done.
  • I wonder what else could work for Pohnpei State. There are laws already in place to reduce and get rid of the trash but enforcement is very very weak. Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement!
  • Many people do destructive things out of ignorance. It may help matters of the people are educated about the ill effects of pollution.
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