Plastics and garbage pollution in oceans and seas increases in 2019

 Juan G. R., Juan G. R. y Juan P. J. A. Plastics and garbage pollution in oceans and seas increases in 2019

 Water and Irrigation Vol: 10, No. 1: 25-27, 1 November 9, 2019, Spain.

Plastics and garbage caused by the impact of human activity are invading oceans and seas of the planet and are increasing considerably at a great pace. The largest floating garbage dump is located in the North Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California with an area of ​​more than 5 million km2, followed by the North Atlantic, the South Pacific and the South Atlantic. In the pollution of the seas by plastics and garbage the most damaged is the Mediterranean Sea and is followed in importance by the Caribbean Sea. Once plastics are trapped in ocean currents, they crumble and become micro plastics affecting ecosystems and thus can become ingested by different marine species and finally by human beings that feed on different marine animals. Sustainable development of seas and oceans is necessary.

In order to study the behavior of the pollution of plastics and garbage in the oceans and seas, researchers use boats, airplanes and satellites to track the areas, where rotary currents also called turns and winds cause the debris that includes Plastics of all kinds, floating garbage, seaweed, marine and fishing remains. Once the plastics are trapped in the turns, they crumble and become micro plastics and this is how they can be ingested by different marine species and finally by the human beings that feed on different marine animals.

North Pacific floating dump

It is located in the Pacific Ocean between the Hawaiian archipelago and California. The current of the North Pacific moves according to the direction of the hands of the clock. The dump has been developing gradually for more than 50 years and already occupies an area of ​​5.4 million square kilometers, where the main garbage is plastic. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Pacific waste is growing very rapidly, fueled by a ton of waste per day.

North Atlantic floating dump

The floating dump is located in the Northern Hemisphere, has an extension of about 3.4 million square kilometers and moves according to the current of the North Atlantic that do so following the clockwise direction.

South Pacific floating dump 

This floating dump is off the coast of Chile and Peru, in the southern hemisphere it occupies an area of ​​about 2.5 million square kilometers and the main garbage is made up of micro plastics. The current of the South Pacific moves according to the inverse direction of the hands of the clock. 

South Atlantic floating dump

This floating dump is located in the southern hemisphere, between South America and South Africa occupies an area of ​​approximately 1 million square kilometers. The current of the South Atlantic moves according to the inverse direction of the hands of the clock.

Indian floating dump

This floating dump is located in the southern hemisphere, it is very poorly developed. The Indian Ocean current moves roughly between Indonesia and Western Australia and the vicinity of the Island of Madagascar and the South African coast, doing so in the reverse direction of the clock hands. 

Arctic floating dump 

The floating dump is located in the northern hemisphere in the Arctic Ocean, it is the least developed. In this place the hot current from the North Atlantic and the cold current from the Arctic converge.

Plastic and Garbage in the Mediterranean Sea

 A total of 731 tons of plastic are dumped every day from the coasts to the Mediterranean, according to the report on the Evaluation of marine garbage in the Mediterranean, from the United Nations Environment Program. Turkey and Spain are the countries that throw the most plastic and garbage 144 and 125 tons per day respectively.

The Mediterranean Sea is an area of ​​great accumulation of plastics of the planet, and the recorded data are comparable to the levels that occur in the large areas of accumulation of the oceans, says Andrés Cózar, professor of Ecology at the Cadiz University. The Mediterranean coast is a very populated area, it is one of the great tourist destinations in the world and waste production is multiplied 40% in summer.

I have seen hills of garbage that pour into the sea in Algeria. Next to protected beaches for turtles, there are uncontrolled landfills with plastics. Some large regions are preferred areas of waste retention: the northwestern Mediterranean, the sub-basins of the Tyrrhenian, the south of the Adriatic and the Gulf of Sirte. But in this sea there are no turns that last more than a few months, since seasonal and interannual variability alters the movements of water and the distribution of garbage. Much of the waste stagnates on the coast of Tunisia and Libya, and finally reaches the Gulf of Sirte. We have seen hills of garbage with direct spills to the sea in Algeria. And along with beaches designed to protect turtles on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea there were uncontrolled dumps with plastics, according to Professor Juan Ramis.

Plastic drowns life in the Mediterranean, 80-85% of the waste in the sea is plastic, millions of plastic fragments are scattered everywhere, from the surface to the bottom of the sea. More than 180 marine species have incorporated plastics into their body, according to documented data on cetaceans, seabirds, turtles, fish and even plankton, experts are especially concerned that plastics contain very toxic chemicals. These compounds are incorporated by marine fauna during digestion and remain in your body; plastic waste in the sea is already a real threat to marine life and biodiversity in the Mediterranean, according to text by Antonio Cerrillo.

Plastic and Garbage in the Caribbean Sea

From 70% to 85% of garbage in the Caribbean Sea comes from land activities and the majority is made up of plastics. Along with the runoff of agrochemicals and domestic wastewater, plastic is one of the most worrying pollutants in the Greater Caribbean region. Floating garbage has also been reported between the coasts of Honduras and Guatemala.

In the region, some governments have banned single-use plastics, including plastic bags and polyethylene foam, and others are working on legislation or programs to reduce them. Antigua and Barbuda took the first step in 2016 with a five-phase approach to get rid of plastics. As a result of these actions, the proportion of plastic that reaches landfills decreased from 19.5% of waste in 2006 to 4.4% in 2017. More than 18 territories have banned single-use plastics, while in Three countries have introduced bans at the local level, two countries have announced bans for 2020 and 2021, 14 countries are discussing it within the government and four have initiated public consultations. The environmental, social and economic impacts of these wastes on the environment are well known: they obstruct drains, which is why mosquito breeding sites proliferate and increases the risk of transmission of diseases such as dengue; They break down into micro plastics that can be introduced to the food chain through soils and fish, affect ecosystems and marine biodiversity, surface pollution on beaches affects tourism and recreational activities.

Several awareness campaigns have emerged in recent years, calling on governments and citizens to action. Clean Seas, the largest global alliance against marine litter, according to the UN Program for Environmental Protection

 

The concentration of plastic and garbage as a result of the impact of human activity is increasing at every moment in seas and oceans, constantly increasing the content of micro plastics that affect ecosystems and thus can become ingested by different marine species and finally by the human beings that feed on different marine animals. It is urgent to take the necessary measures in the fight against plastics and floating garbage for the protection of different marine species and human beings, enabling sustainable development of seas and oceans.

 

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