Largest Ever Ocean Clean-Up Recovers Over 100 Tons of Plastic Trash and Fishing Nets

A recent clean-up operation removed about 103 tons (206,000 pounds) of fishing nets and plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch off the coasts of California and Hawaii.  The ocean ended during a 48-day expedition by the Ocean Ways Institute, which said its history was “the largest open sea cleanup in history”, doubling their previous record compared to last year’s 25-day interval.

Although they recovered large quantities of consumer waste and plastic waste, most of the items they pulled into were commercial fishing equipment and “ghost nets” that fishermen inadvertently dumped on the overboard. Unfortunately, it looks like this plastic has already claimed some damage because it has been discovered that several tortoise skeletons are involved in the rope.

Locky MacLean, a former director at Sea Shepherd and ocean campaigner in marine conservation for two decades, said in a statement, “There is no cure for sea cleanup: for long periods of time at sea, dedicated crews scan the horizon, jump into nets and recover the huge amount of debris that occurs.”

Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute, who goes by the name the “Ghost Net Buster” added, “We have surpassed the goal of blocking 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times we continue to help restore the health of our oceans, which affects our own health and the health of the planet.”

Garbage patches of the Great Pacific between Hawaii and California can be found in one of the most remote areas of the Pacific Ocean. It is estimated that there is about 80,000 tons of plastic waste, most of which comes from commercial fishing and marine activities. Sea waste patches, for example, are formed by the rotation of ocean currents called “gears” that spread and spread plastic contamination in an area. Although each small planet helps to clean up the marine environment, this kind of clean-up is like mopping the floor, while the sinking is still overflowing. Up to 12.7 Millions tons of plastic enter the planet’s oceans, a total of one and a half million tons that currently propagate our marine environments.

From microplastic microscopic follicles to huge nets of netting, all this non-biodegradable junk has become a real threat to marine biodiversity. In a particularly shocking example, researchers in the Philippines discovered a dead whale that swallowed 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of plastic waste, including ice bags, grocery bags and banana garden bags. Worryingly, a recent scientific report recorded at least four semen whales, three baked whales, two baleen whales, and at least five more cetacean swimming where the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has recovered at least this. Maybe now, their journey may be a bit safer, but it’s really a drop in the ocean.