Ocean Cleanup Study Shows Pacific Garbage Patch Made Of Fishing Gear
Research Figure 1 – 2019 Floating Plastic Recycling Test at Sea (Photo: The Ocean Cleanup, Fedde Poppenk / Photo)
The ocean cleanup project was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. It works to clean up as much plastic as possible from the ocean, slowly and gradually reducing the size of the GPGP.
As shown in the picture, the research team laid a huge U-shaped floating barrier (System 02) on the ocean surface and carried out a “trawling”-style collection by ships at both ends.
Often, when many people hear a “garbage patch,” their first impression is the mountains of garbage dumped on land — such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, and various product packaging.
The reality, however, is that much of this waste is also irresponsibly “discharged” into the ocean through rivers and contributes to the bulk of ocean plastic pollution.
Research Figure 2 – Analysis of the composition of marine hard plastic debris in 2019
But specific to the “Pacific Garbage Patch” (GPGP), the latest report from the Ocean Cleanup Project shows that 75-86% of the plastic waste here comes from nearby fishing activities.
Study Figure 3 – Manufacture Date Label Distribution of GPGP Plastic Waste Products
The numbers are based on an analysis of more than 6,000 hard plastic objects over 5 centimeters (2 inches) in size collected in 2019, including mostly fishing gear such as buoys, buckets, and crates, but not nets and ropes.
Study Figure 4 – Simulation of Land-Based Source and Sea Distribution of Floating Plastic Debris
Referring to patterns of wind and ocean currents, the researchers speculate that plastics scattered at sea are more likely to accumulate at sea than those discharged from rivers, resulting in a high concentration of fishery-related debris in the GPGP.
Study Figure 5 – Distribution of Appearance Dates for Three Different Types of Fishing Gear
In addition, based on clues such as brand logos, printed words and languages on items, researchers speculate that Japan (34%) and China (32%) are more likely to be sourced, followed by the Korean Peninsula (10%) and the United States (7%).
Boyan Slat pointed out: “To prevent more plastic from entering the ocean, the control of rivers, the largest source, is still necessary. However, in order to ensure long-term results, local investment in fishing gear must also be strictly controlled. Hopefully our latest research results can make Organizations and the aquaculture industry are taking action.”
Finally, a full report on the findings of this investigation has been published in the latest issue of Scientific Reports (September 1, 2022) (Scientific Reports) magazine.
原标题为《Industrialised fishing nations largely contribute to floating plastic pollution in the North Pacific subtropical gyre》。