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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

40 tonnes of plastic waste removed from the ocean

Environmentalists removed more than 40 tonnes of plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, says a CNN news report.

The environmental protection organisation Ocean Voyages Institute has collected the waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They emphasised that this has been “the largest and most successful ocean cleanup to date” in the region.

To make the amount easier to imagine, the report stated that

40 tonnes of plastic is equivalent in weight to about 24 cars or 6 or 7 grown elephants.

The expedition lasted 25 days. The group used satellite and drone technology. They primarily collected plastic bottles, furniture and toys from the water. They also found abandoned fishing nets: one of the so-called ghost nets weighed 5 tonnes, the other 8 tonnes.

The plastic ghost nets collect massive quantities of plastic waste. Mary Crowley, the founder of Ocean Voyages Institute emphasised that while removing the monster ghost nets from the ocean is very important, smaller ones can also cause great damage, because whales and dolphins get tangled in them and perish.

1.5 tonnes of the plastic waste collected was given to the University of Hawaii graduate art program and individual artists in Hawaii, who will transform them into sculptures and other works of art. The remaining waste will be processed and used to generate energy.

Crowley noted that relative to the magnitude of the problem, this has only been a small step, but it still saved a lot of fish, dolphins and whales. She added that her group is also planning a longer, three-month cleanup effort, and they hope that other organisations will follow suit.

1.5 tonnes of the plastic waste collected was given to the University of Hawaii graduate art program and individual artists in Hawaii Photo: Facebook/Ocean Voyages Institute
Further information: CNN

The Pacific cleanup may succeed

The system created by a Dutch inventor called System 101, whose first trial run, conducted a year ago, had failed, has started collecting plastic waste on the Pacific again.

Hungarian innovation to filter pharmaceutical residues

Many studies worldwide have shown that the active compounds of medications are released into the environment with wastewater and can easily be reintroduced into the human food chain from there. Filtering these residues out is an increasingly acute concern, but, thankfully, the world of science has already responded to the problem.

Garbage from Asia has inundated an island in the middle of the Atlantic

Researchers from Canada and Africa have found a massive amount of plastic bottles, originating form Asia, mainly from China, on Inaccessible Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean. The bottles were probably discarded into the water and then washed up on the island from cargo ships passing the region.

Pharmaceutical residues in Hungarian waters

In Hungary, too, the active ingredients of various medications are discharged continuously into the environment with wastewater, so they can now be detected in surface and underground waters as well as in soils.

What can we do against pharmaceutical residues in our waters?

After being introduced into human and animal organisms, some pharmaceutical compounds are secreted via urine unchanged, and then, through wastewater, those compounds may reach surface waters that serve as drinking water supplies, representing a risk for both aquatic ecosystems and for the purity of drinking water.

Microplastics from an unexpected source

We’ve known for a long time that plastic food packaging, wearing car tyres and clothing made of synthetic fibres are all sources of microplastic pollution. However, a new study has identified a new source of pollution in our kitchens, or more precisely in our teacups.

Steroids in the water?

Despite the continuous development of wastewater treatment technologies, the complete removal of synthetic pharmaceuticals using the three-step method currently in use is yet to be achieved. A number of researchers are working to improve the efficiency of the removal of these molecules from the present value of 10 to 30 percent.

EU campaign to clean up beaches worldwide

As part of a campaign launched by the European Union, which culminated on 21 September, International Coastal CleanUp Day, marine waste washed up on beaches is collected in more than 80 countries on all inhabited continents, the European Commission has announced.

The creation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

This astonishing video is about the creation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is twice the size of the state of Texas.

Radioactive water to be dumped in the Pacific Ocean?

On 11 March 2011, Japan suffered a magnitude 9 earthquake, which also impacted the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Since then, more than a million tonnes of radioactive water has been collected from the damaged cooling system of the plant, but the tanks will be filled to capacity by 2022.

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