July 13, 2019
The nonprofit organization Ocean Voyages Institute has successfully removed more than 40 tons of fishing nets and plastics from the area known as the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, or more commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Credit: Ocean Voyages Institute
The latest annual clean-up voyage by the sailing cargo ship, S/V KWAI, completed a 25-day clean up mission in the Pacific, between California and Hawaii. In this region, four ocean currents converge to create a vortex that collects huge amounts of plastics.
The ship returned to Honolulu filled with detergent bottles, beer and soft drink crates, bleach and cleaning bottles, plastic furniture, packaging straps, buckets, children’s toys, and myriad types of plastic floating mid-ocean.
“Satellite technology played a key role in our recovery effort, offering an innovative solution to finding areas of dense plastic pollution,” said Mary Crowley, Founder and Executive Director of OV Institute. “The nets and other debris are signs of the proliferating plastic pollution that poses threats to marine life, coastal environments, shipping, fisheries, wildlife and our health.”
OVI has mounted nine previous clean-up voyages to the area but says its latest haul was the largest and most successful to date.
“It is very disturbing to be sailing through what was only decades ago a pristine ocean wilderness and find it filled with our all-too-familiar garbage,” says Crowley.
“Urgent action is needed at all levels: curtailing the manufacture of throwaway plastics, preventing plastic trash from entering the oceans, and enlisting the public, corporations, and the maritime industry in education, prevention, innovation and massive cleanup efforts. The question is, are we ready to make it a priority to protect 72 percent of the planet?”
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