The empty bottle, the food carton, the ball that stuck. After a beautiful day at the beach, many people forget to collect the trash that was thrown there in the sand. But when the tide goes up, all these waste ends up being taken to the sea. Like bathers, boats that sail the seas also use sea water as a dump. And with every new waste disposed of in the ocean, the immense garbage islands of the planet increase even more.
Much is said about the issue of litter in the oceans. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050 the sea will have more weight in plastic than in fish. However, talking is one thing and to show the size of the challenge before us is another. In 2015, NASA posted a video showing the islands of garbage scattered around the planet and the images impress. Today, the situation is still worse.
Recently, the American Space Agency (Nasa) has released an impressive video. It shows how these gigantic dumpsters have been forming in five points of the ocean over the last 35 years. These areas concentrate a huge amount of debris, which gradually increase its extent.
What was believed until recently was that these islands were mobile. However, the researchers know now is that they are located in five subtropical regions, where marine currents meet. In them, there are mainly waste plastics, microparticles that have already been partially broken down by the rays of the sun.
An international study, conducted last year by the non-governmental organization 5 Gyres, reported that there are over 5 trillion pieces – large and small – of plastic floating in the oceans of the planet. That would be about 269 thousand tons of waste, which were dumped in our seas.
According to the survey, which involved scientists from six countries and collected data from 24 expeditions around the world, the plastic found in most quantity is from fishing nets and remains of buoys. But the researchers also found tons of bottles, plastics, toothbrushes and a host of other debris.
Besides killing fish and other marine species, the garbage accumulated in the seas contaminates the water and ends up affecting the quality of what we eat. It's a big vicious circle, since we're all connected. Therefore, avoid using plastic packaging and when doing so, always discard in the right place.