article by ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
abstract : World’s waste congregates into five ‘garbage islands’ that swirl around the planet’s major ocean gyres. These are in the Indian Ocean, the north and south of the Pacific, and north and south Atlantic Ocean. Nasa’s created the animation using data from floating, scientific buoys to map the movement of plastic. 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the oceans each year.
The ocean is filled with eight million tonnes of garbage – enough to fill five carrier bags for every foot of coastline on the planet.
Carried by sea currents, this waste congregates into five giant ‘garbage islands’ that swirl around the world’s major ocean gyres. Now, Nasa has created a visualisation of this pollution highlighting the extend to which humanity is ruining the oceans with waste.
Nasa has created a visualisation of this pollution highlighting the extend to which humanity is ruining the oceans with waste. Pictured are the movements of plastic in the world’s oceans. The space agency created the time-lapse using data from floating, scientific buoys that had been distributed in the oceans for the last 35 years. ‘If we let all of the buoys go at the same time, we can observe buoy migration patterns,’ said Greg Shirah from Nasa’s Scientific Visualisation Studio.
‘The number of buoys decreases because some buoys don’t last as long as others.’
The buoys on the map are represented by the white dots. The buoys migrate to five known gyres, the large system of rotating ocean currents. These are located in the Indian Ocean and in the North and South of the Pacific and the North and South Atlantic.
Around 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans each year, scientists claim. Because of the difficulties in working out the exact amount, since much of it may have sunk, the scientists said the true figure could be as much as 12.7 million tons polluting the ocean each year.
Who dumps the most?
More than half of the plastic that flows into the oceans comes from five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The only industrialised western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20. The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said. While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the US contributes 77,000 tons.
‘We can also see this in a computational model of ocean currents called ECCO-2,’ said Shirah. ‘We release particles evenly around the world and let the modelled currents carry the particles. The particles from the model also migrate to the garbage patches. Even though the retimed buoys and modelled particles did not react to currents at the same times, the fact that the data tend to accumulate in the same regions show how robust the result is.’
Around 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans each year, scientists claim. Because of the difficulties in working out the exact amount, since much of it may have sunk, the scientists said the true figure could be as much as 12.7 million tons polluting the ocean each year. The team also warned that this ‘ocean of plastic’ can harm sea life. Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them. The bags then block their stomachs, which causes them to starve to death.
Over the world’s scientific buoys where in 1986 and than where they ended up in 1999. In the subsequent years, the Nasa animation shows how they congregated around major ocean currents
Nasa created the time-lapse using data from buoys (seen as white dots) that had been distributed in the oceans for the last 35 years.
How plastic pollution is devastating Ocean Life?
The full scale of the threat to our wildlife from the plastic rubbish polluting our seas was exposed in a landmark study in February. It found that nearly 400 marine species are at risk as a result of the tons of shopping bags, fishing nets and other waste dumped in the oceans each year. Puffins, turtles, seals and whales are among the creatures that have swallowed or become entangled in plastic bags. It found many of the world’s most endangered marine species are now threatened. Hawaiian monk seals, North Atlantic right whales, African penguins and loggerhead turtles have become caught up in lines, choked on plastic bags or swallowed bottle tops. The problem has increased by nearly 50 per cent since the previous study was carried out in 1997, British scientists said. Sea birds also often mistake floating plastic for food; over 90 per cent of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs. It is also feared that it could harm our health to eat fish that have consumed plastic. The scientists reached their figures by analysing data on the amount of waste generated and how well it is disposed of in 192 coastal countries. This included litter left on beaches as well as plastic from fly-tipping and badly-managed rubbish dumps. Their figures are much higher than those from previous studies, which only looked at rubbish floating on the surface and did not factor in the plastic that had sunk to the sea floor or was trapped in ice. They estimated that between 4.7 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic made its way into the world’s oceans in 2010, with a best estimate of 8 million tons. The figure is expected to rise each year. Between 2010 and 2025, some 155 million tons of plastic could be dumped into the ocean – enough to fill 100 bags per foot of coastline. Piled one on top of the other, the bags would create a wall of rubbish 100 ft high.
Co-author Roland Geyer, associate professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said: ‘Large-scale removal of plastic marine debris is not going to be cost-effective and quite likely simply unfeasible. This means we need to prevent plastic from entering the oceans in the first place through better waste management, more reuse and recycling, better product design and material substitution.’
Frank Davis, director of the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in the US, said: ‘The numbers are staggering but the problem is not insurmountable.’
Sea birds often mistake plastic for food; over 90 per cent of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs. Pictured is a razorbill washed up on a beach entangled in waste.
The amount of waste in the oceans is expected to rise each year. Between 2010 and 2025, some 155 million tons of plastic could be dumped into the ocean – enough to fill 100 bags per foot of coastline
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3206442/Watch-humanity-ruin-oceans-Nasa-animation-shows-vast-garbage-islands-taken-seas-35-years.html#ixzz3kDIAnDpq
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