The Ocean Cleanup is working on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup, an environmental protection organization, has begun cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s the largest single collection of garbage in the oceans, making it look like a garbage island. The sheer size of this junk collection makes the effort to clean it up quite exhausting.
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The Ocean Cleanup uses high tech tools to remove bits of plastic from the patch. While the good gesture is welcomed, questions now arise. Some critics have argued the uncertainty of their approach to reducing plastic pollution. This takes into account that only about 5% of plastic in the US is actually recycled.
See also: Exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) consists of debris of various types of waste. It stretches over 1.6 million square kilometers in the North Pacific. Most of the trash that makes up the island is plastic. These are the plastic parts that GPGP targets.
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Microplastics, which are a major environmental problem worldwide, also make up the patch. According to a study published in the journal Nature, microplastics make up up to 8% of the patch by surface area. Although microplastics only make up 8% of the surface area, it has outnumbered the other parts. The patch contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, 94% of which are microplastics.
According to The Ocean Cleanup, they recycle most of the waste they collect. Some of the plastic is used to make durable products. The rest of the garbage is incinerated to generate electricity.
It’s this claim that has raised eyebrows. It has long been known that the thermal recycling of plastic to produce electricity is harmful. It releases toxins into our waters, air and soil. As a result, the waste harms people more directly than in the sea
Despite these criticisms, The Ocean Cleanup has continued its activities. Some experts now say that the group should first consider the possible consequences of its actions.
“I think they come to help the ocean for a good reason, but by far the best way to help the ocean is to stop plastic from getting into the ocean in the first place,” said Miriam Goldstein, director of Ocean Politics at the Center for American Progress.
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