The plastic island that sails aimlessly through the Pacific Ocean is much larger than previously thought with an area of 1.6 million square kilometers, a size similar to that of Mexico. This is confirmed by a recent study that calculates that the accumulation of garbage has an extension similar to 64% of the Mediterranean Sea with an area of 2.5 km2.
It is estimated that the plastic island has a weight of approximately 80,000 tons, which is 4-16 times more than the previous calculations. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, has led this research. The estimates compare the mass of this garbage accumulation with a weight similar to that of 500 Jumbo model airplanes.
According to experts, after a mapping and monitoring of three years, this floating dump is made up of 1.8 billion pieces of plastic and is worsening at an exponential rate. It is true that large amounts of plastic are concentrated in the turn of the North Pacific. However, there is no accumulation as dense as on an island .
Its difficulty for cleanliness lies in the fact that this plastic island or garbage archipelago is spread over millions of square kilometers.A bigger garbage than expected
The calculations show that 92% of the mass is represented by large plastic objects, while 8% is composed of microplastics with a size of less than 5 mm. “We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we found, we used to think that most of the trash consists of small fragments, but this new analysis sheds new light on the extent of the waste,” says Dr. Julia Reisser, a scientist head of the research expeditions.
92% of the mass is represented by large plastic objects
These results were achieved thanks to the participation of 30 research vessels, two studies with aircraft and innovative systems for more effective collection of the samples over a period of three years.
Plastic garbage in the Mediterranean
A study conducted by Spanish researchers published in 2016 identified more than 96% of the samples collected traces of some type of plastic. According to his calculations, the estimate increases to 1455 tons of floating plastic for the entire Mediterranean region.
Tips to avoid litter at sea
From the Ocean Cleanup Foundation they point out that there are several ways to avoid plastic pollution at sea, but some depend on recycling facilities in each region, maybe you Mexico dentist recommend you to replace your plastic tooth brush for one made of bamboo or any other biodegradable material. However, the organization of cleanings of beaches, rivers and lands, reducing plastics consumption and increasing the recycling or reuse of objects stand out as fundamental actions.
Indications to take into account:
Reduce the use of microspheres in cosmetics
Wash synthetic clothing as little as possible
Help in the cleaning of beaches, rivers and lands
Reduce the consumption of plastic
“To be able to solve a problem, we believe it is essential to understand it first.” These results provide us with key data to develop and test our cleaning technology, but also underscore the urgency of addressing the problem of plastic contamination.
Since the results indicate that the amount of dangerous microplastics will increase more than 10 times if it fragments, it is time to start now.