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It includes about 1.8 trillion pieces and weighs 88,000 tons – the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. This deterioration into microplastics is usually the result of sun exposure, waves, marine life, and temperature changes. Using a similar approach as they did when figuring the mass, the team chose to employ conservative estimations of the plastic count. Ocean Cleanup Crew Just Collected a Record Amount of Plastic From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Kan Dail July 25, 2020, 2:20 pm Ocean Voyages Institute is a nonprofit organization which is continuously working towards Ocean cleanup drive, preserving the oceans and teaching marine education. World's largest collection of ocean garbage is twice the size of Texas, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California. The project was started in 2013, and its design has undergone several major revisions. These costs do not include the impact on human health and the marine ecosystem (due to insufficient research available). Location. Megaplastics are more scattered than the smaller plastics, and, to study this important aspect of the patch, the team needed to cover an even larger area. Resulting from several research missions, traveling across and above the GPGP, The Ocean Cleanup team compiled an unprecedented amount of data to better understand the plastic that persists in this region. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California. Numerous computational and mathematical processes and methods were used throughout the study of the GPGP, allowing the team to visualize and characterize many features of the patch and the plastic within it. After three years of research including two field expeditions, extensive laboratory experiments, and data analyses, we are thrilled to finally release the results of our study on the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch. These served as a visual representation of the studies and tests that had been performed from the expeditions. When accounting for the total mass, 92% of the debris found in the patch consists of objects larger than 0.5 cm, and three-quarters of the total mass is made of macro- and mega plastic. The GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France. Ranging in size from small fragments to larger objects and meter-sized fishing nets. A process known as Chromatography. If the less-dense outer region was also considered in the total estimate, the total mass would then be closer to 100,000 tonnes. Scientists get ready to begin Great Pacific Garbage Patch cleanup This article is more than 1 year old. – Microplastics (0.05 – 0.5 cm) Through a process called bioaccumulation, chemicals in plastics will enter the body of the animal feeding on the plastic, and as the feeder becomes prey, the chemicals will pass to the predator – making their way up the food web that includes humans. The total distance of tows, for example, combined with the net’s characteristics allowed the researchers to estimate the total surveyed surface. ABC NEWS (Australia) Follow. The first step in analyzing the plastic was to quantify it – to turn this physical matter into data. – Type F: Fragments made of foamed materials. Larger pieces were observed to resurface much more rapidly than smaller pieces. Fishing nets account for 46% of the mass in the GPGP and they can be dangerous for animals who swim or collide into them and cannot extract themselves from the net. The difficulty comes down to at least three main factors: cost, distance and the effects of photodegradation. That's twice the size of Texas and is the largest collection of plastic in the world's oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a soupy concoction of plastic debris that formed in a convergence point for gyres, or massive ocean currents, in the Pacific Ocean. The patch covers a swath of water three times the size of France and it’s become emblematic of the larger crisis of plastic pollution affecting the ocean. Their results helped them to realize what chemicals are present in the patch and what that means for animals feeding there. Great Pacific Garbage Patch Growing Rapidly, Study Shows. Laysan albatross chicks from Kure Atoll and Oahu Island have around 45% of their wet mass composed of plastics from surface waters of the GPGP. These models have helped the engineers at The Ocean Cleanup to further improve the design of the cleanup system, which is set to be deployed mid-2018. – Type H: Hard plastic, plastic sheet or film; His cleanup system failed in late December when a 60-foot length of the device broke off. Every piece of plastic that was recovered was cleaned, counted and classified by size and type. Interaction with these discarded nets, also known as ghost nets , often results in the death of the marine life involved. Slat sounded a note of caution: “If the journey to this point taught us anything, it is that it's definitely not going to be easy.”, Garbage patch: World's largest collection of ocean garbage is twice the size of Texas. Efforts to clean and eradicate ocean plastic have also caused significant financial burdens. What are the effects on marine life and humans? Today, we announced that System 001/B is successfully capturing and collecting plastic debris. The mass of the plastic debris in the GPGP was calculated using imagery from the Aerial Expedition. It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. First discovered in the early 1990s, the trash in the patch comes from around the Pacific Rim, including nations in Asia and North and South America. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is more than 600,000 square miles in size. It is caught in the water currents. Once the plastics were collected, a team of volunteers classified the plastic into: Technology to solve this issue had not been developed or deployed before the September attempt. In 2015, 30 vessels and 652 surface nets, in parallel, crossed the GPGP as part of the Mega Expedition. Realizing that previous methods of analyzing the plastic in the patch needed improvement, The Ocean Cleanup designed a new research tool, called the multi-level-trawl, which allowed measurements of 11 water layers simultaneously going as far down as 5 meters below surface level. pic.twitter.com/bGhrkty5W6. However, in terms of object count, 94% of the total is represented by microplastics. Photo credits: The Ocean Cleanup / Skyframes, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22939-w, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.12.041, Laurent C. M. Lebreton, et al., “Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic,”Â, Laurent C. M. Lebreton, et al., “River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans,”Â, Qiqing Chen, et al., “Pollutants in Plastics within the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre,”Â, Julia Reisser, et al., “The vertical distribution of buoyant plastics at sea: an observational study in the North Atlantic Gyre,”Â, Merel Kooi, et al., “The effect of particle properties on the depth profile of buoyant plastics in the ocean,”Â, Sarah Gall, Richard C. Thompson, “The impact of debris on marine life,”Â. Once the ocean plastic was brought back to the Netherlands, it then needed to be counted, classified and analyzed. For press inquiries please email press@theoceancleanup.com. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the nickname for an area between Hawaii and California, where plastic and other human-made litter and debris accumulate, according to … Once these plastics enter the gyre, they are unlikely to leave the area until they degrade into smaller microplastics under the effects of sun, waves and marine life. 17% of the species affected by plastic are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. Scientists present on the expedition noted that there was an alarming amount of plastic floating in the patch, and their preliminary findings indicated that there were more large objects than originally expected. The Ocean Cleanup aims to collect 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years and 90% of it by 2040. Garbage patches, especially the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, are far out in the middle of the ocean where people hardly ever go. What types of plastic float in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Results from these expeditions proved that the buoyant plastic mass is distributed within the top few meters of the ocean.. Factors such as wind speed, sea state, and plastic buoyancy will influence vertical mixing. How did The Ocean Cleanup conduct its research? The fleet returned with over 1.2 million plastic samples that rendered an unprecedented amount of plastic measurements from the three months of study. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California. For example, sea turtles by-caught in fisheries operating within and around the patch can have up to 74% (by dry weight) of their diets composed of ocean plastics. "Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics," Boyan Slat, 25, the Dutch inventor and university dropout who created the Ocean Cleanup Project, tweeted Wednesday. This trawl was then used in the Vertical Distribution Research. The Ocean Cleanup found a crate in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that dates back to the 1970s. It is commonly known that harmful PBT (Persistent Bio-accumulative Toxic) chemicals are found in ocean plastics, so researchers at The Ocean Cleanup tested plastic samples from the expeditions for their chemical levels. Once plastic enters the marine food web, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the human food chain as well. In early September, a ship headed to an area of the Pacific Ocean known as the Pacific Garbage Patch—a region where all the trash dumped in the Pacific ends up. However, buoyant plastic will eventually float back to the surface in calmer seas. The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" cleanup is finally underway. On average the patch orbits around 32°N and 145°W. The data from this expedition were then analyzed and processed resulting in multispectral and geo-referenced imagery that was used to screen the surface area for plastic by trained observers and a machine-learning algorithm, providing spatial distribution of larger debris (>0.5m). Studies have shown that about 700 species have encountered marine debris, and 92% of these interactions are with plastic. With this information, the team was able to identify the exact location where the plastic was retrieved. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a big patch of garbage and debris in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean. This method showed a bias towards smaller objects and did not provide much insight into the larger pieces, and, thus, the entire scope of the GPGP. The mass of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) was estimated to be approximately 80,000 tonnes, which is 4-16 times more than previous calculations. Plastic in the patch has also been measured since the 1970’s and the calculations from subsequent years show that microplastic mass concentration is increasing exponentially – proving that the input of plastic in the patch is greater than the output. The costs stem from its impact on tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and (governmental) cleanups. 84% of samples contained toxic chemicals in excess Trapped within this massive gyre is an ever-growing swell of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. That necessitated towing the entire 2,000-foot device back to Hawaii for testing and inspection. It formed because currents near the center of the Northern Pacific Ocean move around in a kind of circle, which catches and holds floating pieces of plastic. Boyan Slat has been dreaming of cleaning up the world's oceans ever since he was a teenager. The cleanup system includes a barrier that holds a 10-foot screen below it to catch plastics without interfering with marine life, The Guardian reported. Numerous vessel owners offered the use of their ships for the mission. To formulate this number, the team of scientists behind this research conducted the most elaborate sampling method ever coordinated. The patch is not a solid mass of plastic. Using data from multiple reconnaissance missions, a mass concentration model was produced to visualize the plastic distribution in the patch. Learn more Only floating objects that are predominantly influenced by currents and less by winds were likely to remain within the patch. The Ocean Cleanup. This odd vessel looks like a cross between an oil rig and a floating swimming pool and may help clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 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