There are two nonprofit organizations working to take away floating plastic from the Nice Pacific Patch. The biggest, the Ocean Cleanup Basis within the Netherlands, developed a web particularly to gather and focus marine particles as it’s pulled throughout the ocean’s floor by winds and currents. As soon as the online is full, a ship takes its contents to land for correct disposal.
Dr. Helm and different scientists warn that such nets threaten sea life, together with neuston. Though changes to the online’s design have been made to scale back bycatch, Dr. Helm believes any large-scale removing of plastic from the patch might pose a menace to its neuston inhabitants.
“With regards to determining what to do concerning the plastic that’s already within the ocean, I believe we should be actually cautious,” she stated. The outcomes of her research “actually emphasize the necessity to research the open ocean earlier than we attempt to manipulate it, modify it, clear it up or extract minerals from it.”
Laurent Lebreton, an oceanographer with the Ocean Cleanup Basis, disagreed with Dr. Helm.
“It’s too early to succeed in any conclusions on how we must always react to that research,” he stated. “You must take note of the consequences of plastic air pollution on different species. We’re accumulating a number of tons of plastic each week with our system — plastic that affects the atmosphere.”
Plastic within the ocean poses a menace to marine life, killing greater than 1,000,000 seabirds yearly, in addition to greater than 100,000 marine mammals, in keeping with UNESCO. Every part from fish to whales can develop into entangled, and animals usually mistake it for meals and find yourself ravenous to loss of life with stomachs filled with plastic.
Ocean plastics that don’t find yourself asphyxiating an albatross or entangling an elephant seal ultimately break down into microplastics, which penetrate each department of the meals net and are almost inconceivable to take away from the atmosphere.
One factor everybody agrees on is that we have to cease the movement of plastic into the ocean.
“We have to flip off the faucet,” Mr. Lecomte stated.