The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of plastic pollution accumulating in the Pacific between California and Hawaii, is now twice the size of Texas. According to scientists from Ocean Cleanup, approximately 79,000 tons of ocean plastic are making up an area about 1.6 million km2 (617763 square miles).
Not surprisingly, their 2018 study estimates 46% of this floating pile of plastic pollution is consists of abandoned fishing nets. These abandoned nets, called ghost nets, pollute marine ecosystems for centuries, often resulting in the trapping of whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, birds and countless other marine animals.
In a study by United Nations Environment Programme and FAO.org, the world’s oceans are choking on an estimated 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets. One project aimed at reducing this problem, the Net Positiva program by Bureo, sponsors the collection and recycling of fishing nets, which symbiotically results in raising awareness about the environmental cost of improper net disposal. Bureo purchases used nets from the fishing community, which is then used to fund educational and recycling activities.
“Discarded fishing nets make up an estimated 10% of plastic in the ocean, and have been found to be four times more harmful than all other forms of plastic pollution. Bureo’s programs provide a tangible solution to prevent this harmful material from entering our oceans.” – Bureo
Other groups, like Parley for the Oceans, are re-purposing ocean plastic into sneakers. Do you know of any groups trying to solve the problem? Comment below so we can feature their cause.
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States,
United Nations Environment Program
Parley for the Oceans https://www.parley.tv/
Net Positiva https://bureo.co/pages/net-positiva