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
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.
Scientists have studied the cetaceans washed ashore over the last twenty years. The saddest case was that of a 5.3 metre young sperm whale found on the island of Mykonos: it had swallowed 135 pieces of plastic weighing 3.2 kg in total.
The patches of plastic that look like used chewing gum are not only indications of the amount of waste accumulating in the oceans, they also represent a risk for the organisms that live and feed on the rocks.
More than two billion people worldwide have no access to safely managed clean drinking water, while more than four billion people do not have adequate sanitation services, according to a report announced in Geneva by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
On the 15th of June, 633 divers put on their diving suits and oxygen tanks and dove underwater by the shore of Deerfield Beach in Florida – to pick up litter.
Although the Mediterranean Sea represents less than 1% of the global ocean area, it contains 7% of the total quantity of microplastics. More than half a million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the sea every year, equivalent to 33,800 half-litre PET bottles thrown away every minute – a report published by the WWF on June 8, World Oceans Day, revealed.
In addition to climate change and global warming, the continuous production of inconceivable amounts of waste is also endangering our environment, and most of that waste consists of single-use plastics.
Dead zone areas in the region are not new phenomena, but in 2019, the area affected by hypoxia, a condition of low oxygen that can no longer support any form of life has grown much larger than expected, and the cause is likely to be human activities.
An unexpected problem associated with the pollution of lakes came into focus last January, when a highly polluted lake in India caught fire because of the massive quantities of waste in it – and according to locals, it was not first time, either.
The severe pollution of waters is an increasingly alarming problem, with many places around the world having no access to clean drinking water, which may have tragic consequences. In 2018, the Chinese artist Brother Nut put on a special exhibition to bring attention to the damage caused by water pollution.
There are areas in the oceans that have no oxygen and are completely unsuitable for the formation and the sustaining of any kind of life – they are the so-called dead zones. A new study has shown that their number is much greater than previously thought.