Plastic Islands

Plastic is the main source of pollution in the oceans: every year 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea. (GYI)

Plastic accumulation in the oceans has created the eighth continent made of garbage

In recent years, trash islands have appeared floating in different parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. In these areas, the surface of the water is covered with garbage, especially plastic waste.

If we were to put them all together, these islands would take up an immense area: 1.4 million km² (almost three times Spain).

The trash islands are concentrated in the ocean gyres, where the marine currents rotate in circle. The largest is in the Pacific Ocean, between Japan and the west coast of the United States and Canada.

The most dangerous kind of waste

The floating garbage at these islands aren’t large amounts of waste like tyres or plastic bottles, but tiny waste or garbage microparticles the size of rice.

This waste is mostly polyethylene and polypropylene, coming from common objects such as supermarket bags, plastic bottles, food containers …

How has all this waste ended up in the ocean? Data is alarming: eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea each year. A study carried out by the prestigious scientific journal Nature found that around one million tons of it comes from rivers, especially the Asian continent.

The trash islands are just the tip of the iceberg: most of this garbage (around 70%) sinks in the depths and pollutes the bottom of the sea.

An you, what can you do to help?

A lot of people and organizations are working to change things, but there are many other things that you can do yourself to protect the oceans.

To prevent plastic from reaching the sea, the first thing we must do is to recycle or reuse bottles and packages, giving them more use. Although the most important thing is to reduce the amount of plastic we consume: we can replace it with fabric bags, glass recipients, reusable bottles

You can also support initiatives that reuse plastic. Several fashion brands try to give plastic a second life: for example, Ecoalf, whose clothes are made of recycled plastic and cotton.

The NGO Plastic Oceans Fund has launched a campaign to reduce the amount of plastic waste in seas. The initiative has the support of the UN General Secretary , Antonio Gutierres… and you too can join in and contribute!

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

 

 

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