For a long time, the world has been aware of the existence of huge islands of garbage in the world’s oceans, but it does not seem very alarmed. In this regard, we have read several notes on the risks presented by these plastic agglomerations and we have seen the videos that confirm its existence. Undoubtedly, seeing so much accumulated trash is disgusting, and it is hard not to feel sorry for the marine life that tries to swim between the PET containers and the polystyrene containers.
But at the same time, all this happens thousands of kilometres away, in the middle of the ocean. While the effects of marine pollution are not directly perceived, the world will continue to be addicted to the daily consumption of plastic products. That the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are in charge of the cleaning tasks. That the governments of the world are in charge of finding the genius entrepreneurs who will design a miracle technique to eliminate garbage. The average citizen feels that he already contributes enough to the payment of taxes.
It is worth remembering what is happening on our planet. Around 13 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year. More than half of this volume is less dense than water, so it remains floating on the surface, in full view of anyone. All this plastic, then, is transported by the marine currents until it gets caught in the great oceanic turns.
The planet is made up of five of these oceanic turns, which have been transformed into our giant plastic tanks. The largest of these “garbage islands” is located in the North Pacific, located between Hawaii and California (which should not be surprising, taking into account that according to the Los Angeles Times, no other country in the world generates as much garbage as the United States ). The NGO The Ocean Clean UP estimates that the surface of this island of garbage is 16 times larger than previously thought, as it measures 1.6 million km², that is 3 times the size of France or almost the entire Mexican Republic ( the size of Mexico is 1 million 964 thousand 375 km²).
What can we find in these “garbage islands”? The thing goes far beyond straws. Most of the objects are small microplastic particles, which makes it a difficult task to estimate the actual size of these garbage patches. Remember that plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose. For example, a PET bottle. Due to solar radiation, marine currents and temperature changes (among other factors), the bottle ends up degenerating into microplastic particles, almost imperceptible to the human eye, and often mistaken for food by marine life.
The most incredible thing is that this phenomenon has not more than 35 years of becoming an environmental disaster, a symptom of the global neglect in the handling of garbage and our addiction to the products derived from fossil fuels. And of course, everything indicates that the situation will worsen in short-term models.
Source: Noticieros Televisa