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Where is the Missing Plastic?
Every year, an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans. However, there is only, and I use the term ‘only’ very lightly, somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of tonnes found floating on the surface. In the past, scientists have assumed that floating plastic does not persist at the ocean surface and that the missing plastic would be found in the form of microplastic particles at the bottom of the sea. However, many believe that this is a contradiction of reports of decades-old objects floating in oceanic garbage patches, suggesting that floating plastic is highly present in these regions.
An Alternative Explanation
On the 12th September, The Ocean Cleanup researchers published an alternative explanation for the “missing ocean plastic” in Scientific Reports.
The Ocean Cleanup Research team believe that, although there clearly are billions of tiny pieces of plastic resting deeper in the oceans, there is not enough to account for all the missing ocean plastic.
They indicate that the plastic in the ocean may be much older than we think. In fact, they expect that nearly half the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage patch is from the ’90s and before.
In response to the question “where is the missing plastic?” They think the answer may be that it is still on its way to the ocean, and at the moment we are still not observing it.
Projections show that the mass of ocean plastic could quadruple by 2050 unless we do more to intervene.
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organisation that is developing advanced technologies to rid the ocean of plastic and, with support from donors like Global Office Supplies, aim to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years’ time.
We are all responsible for the plastic in the ocean and positive action needs to be taken against it. Solving the plastic crisis requires a global effort. We need both a preventative measure to stop plastic from entering the ocean, and we also need curative measures to remove plastic waste that already litters the ocean.
Global Office Supplies Support the Ocean Cleanup
While The Ocean Cleanup is working hard to make a positive impact, they can’t do it alone and need support from their partners.
That’s why Global Office Supplies are proud supporters of The Ocean Cleanup and make regular donations to help them develop their innovative systems that will hopefully, one-day, rid the oceans of all plastic.