By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online
The oceans of the world are heavily polluted with plastic; on the coast of beaches and afloat on the surface, according to the Ocean Conservancy and a new study published in the PLOS One journal.
These revelations were made during the annual international coastal clean-up where it’s been reported that there is over 5.579186151 kilograms of rubbish polluting our waterways and beaches and over five trillion pieces of plastic floating on surfaces of oceans, worldwide.
The study published in the PLOS One journal is historically, the first of its kind, documenting the estimated total of plastic particles and their weight. The research was implemented through 24 expeditions carried out from 2007 to 2013, were surface net tows and visual surveys were done to collect data all in all five sub-tropical currents.
An oceanographic model was used to evaluate data where researchers found an estimated minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268, 940 tons, afloat in oceans.
“Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue,” Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
Plastic pollution not only harms marine life and their habitats but puts humans at greater risks, especially those who rely on marine life for food consumption.
“At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem — perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on,” said Merkl.
The problem of plastic pollution is preventable and agencies like Ocean Conservancy are urging concerned world citizens to take better control over plastic rubbish and to use biodegradable products.
“Trash has infiltrated all reaches of our ocean, causing innumerable adverse impacts on ocean life and coastal communities. The problem can seem overwhelming, but it is entirely preventable”, states Ocean Conservancy in their annual report.
Some methods being advocated, to keep trash out of the world’s oceans, are to exercise recycling where people are being urged to sort and separate items that can be recycled.
Advocators are also urging companies to create ocean-friendly products and optimize packaging, address ocean pollution in respective coastal communities, discard rubbish in proper ways instead of throwing garbage into waterways or the sea and for countries to be more responsible over household and industrial rubbish.