The Ocean Voyages Institute just broke a world record for the largest amount of plastic removed from the ocean. Focusing their efforts on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, their team was able to remove an astonishing 103 tons of plastic and fishing nets that were capturing and killing marine life. Also, this record-setting haul shattered the previous record, also set by the institute, which was half the haul of this one.
Capturing over 100 tons of toxic plastic and abandoned fishing nets is a small, but encouraging, step towards getting plastic pollution out of our oceans. Since all living systems are interconnected and interdependent, it is crucial for efforts like this one to continue.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The institute set off from Hilo, Hawaii to find what’s been called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s a trash vortex, or gyre, created due to the way ocean currents move. The area is home to all sorts of debris, some of which can be incredibly small. What’s even more alarming is that there are garbage patches in every ocean on Earth, as you can see in the image below.
By using GPS trackers, and the support of Andy Sybrandy, an engineer from Pacific Gyre, Inc, the team was able to find a 15-mile wide area teeming with garbage. They are using currently-available nautical equipment to clean up the marine environment, and have been doing so for over a decade.
The Ocean Voyages Institute is committing to ensuring absolutely none of the garbage picked up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ends up in a landfill. Instead, they are sending everything to recycling companies. They anticipate that it will all be upcycled and turned into energy, insulation, and other things.
Make a Difference
Although a small organization, they are making a difference, which can be inspiring to us all. Their successful efforts show us that anyone can make a difference. Doing beach clean-ups is a simple and effective way to make a dent in the plastic pollution plaguing the world today. Every single person has the opportunity to help, even if they don’t live by the ocean, since plastic pollution is everywhere.
Ocean Voyages Institute is not stopping with this ocean garbage haul. They are already back out, heading towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch once again. This voyage will take around a month and will be determined by how much crowdfunding they receive. If you want to help make a difference in cleaning up plastic pollution, you can donate here.
They are planning to have a fleet of ships next year, to increase their efforts and effectiveness in getting plastic pollution out of the oceans. There are vessels just waiting to help in the clean-up efforts, which is incredibly promising and exciting. The future long-term vision is for them to sail the seas around the world, cleaning up in other ocean garbage patches and getting rid of the large amount of ghost nets and plastic pollution.
If you want to help reduce the pollution in the oceans, consider donating today, or do your part by combing beaches for plastic and other trash. If you live inland, you can always do a trash clean-up closer to home and make that tiny, but important difference.