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Ocean pollution is one of the main concerns of environmental activists. New ways of cleaning it up are being tested, and it seems that coastal barriers can clean the ocean better than nets designed to gather the plastic from the Great Garbage Patch of the Pacific.
According to the latest research, there are around 51 trillion particles of plastic floating around in the oceans. This means over 236,000 MT of waste that is harming or killing marine animals. The Project for Ocean Cleanup proposed the deployment of special barriers that could collect the plastic waste from the areas that are most affected.
The Great Garbage Patch of the Pacific Ocean, or the trash vortex of the Pacific, is a gyre made out of marine debris particles and it can be found in the North Pacific Ocean. The area is not only made out of stray plastic but also chemical sludge and other debris that harm the marine population. Most of the birds that fly in the area are found dead with big amounts of plastic remnants in their stomachs.
Another area of high plastic pollution are the coastal areas of China and Indonesia. The countries are developing in a very fast pace and this leads to enormous amounts of waste that are discarded in the Ocean. What oceanographers propose is to mount barriers along the coastlines to prevent the debris from floating away into the ocean, thus stopping it before it could do any real harm.
Erik van Sebille and Peter Sherman are two of the oceanographers that are suggesting the coastal barriers can clean the ocean. They have ran computer simulations based on data collected from a buoy that was satellite-tracked and concluded that such a measure would help clean almost a third of the plastic debris found in the ocean.
The solution proposed by the two scientists is logical, they are only trying to eliminate the evil by cutting its roots. Because most of the polluting material is discarded near the coasts, it’s only natural that they think of a way to stop it from reaching the outer ocean and harm many sea creatures in its way.
The bad news is coastal barriers can clean the ocean only by a third. There will be plenty of plastic left in our waters to further harm marine life. The best solution would be to mount the barriers and try to collect the plastic that is already floating freely on the ocean’s surface.
Image source: www.amazonaws.com