A floating plastic trash vortex which swells to cover an area the size of Texas is threatening wildlife in the Pacific.
Discarded toothbrushes collected during a beach tidy-up. Picture couretesy of Greenpeace.
Due to prevailing currents and wind, huge masses of waste dumped in the seas accumulate in the North Pacific gyre.
As most plastics tend to float and take a long time to biodegrade, much of this waste is plastic based and consists of everything from carrier bags and condoms to toothbrushes and discarded fishing nets.
“In order to counter all the threats to the oceans – from pollution to overfishing and habitat destruction – the world needs to realize that ocean protection must begin on land.”
The Greenpeace report concludes that while agreements such as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships go some way towards addressing the problems of waste discarded by mariners, the real solution requires action on land-based waste management.
Greenpeace says that: Public education programmes and increased efforts on reducing waste are needed to protect marine life, it says, and protected areas such as the Hawaiian reserve announced by the USA should be put in place to cover 40% of the world’s oceans.
The Waster says: “Everyone get ready to do a bit of litter picking then?”