Plastic island floating in the Pacific
Newspaper 20 Minutes. R. Q. 22.05.2012
In the Pacific there is an island of four million tons of floating debris, 80% is plastic from land-situated between California and Hawaii. Experts estimate that has an area of 1.5 million square kilometers.
The ‘Eighth Continent’ was discovered in 1997 by the British sailor Charles Moore. The island has three times the size of Spain. This ‘phenomenon’ artificial has been possible because it is a focal point of ocean currents. Since its discovery there have been many expeditions toward the so-called “eighth continent ‘or’ toxic soup ‘but without success. The garbage has destroyed a third of the surface of marine habitats. Remove the plastic waste of ocean space would imply a high cost because it works with tons of toxic material and requires high technology, specialized vessels and crew. The head of the Greenpeace campaign waters, Julio Barea, is skeptical: “The damage is done in international waters, so no one assumes responsibility for the spill and there is no government to be responsible. We must make efforts to develop measures preventive to avoid artificial new continents and assume that nobody will clean this island. “
But is not the only ‘toxic soup’. A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Hawaii in 2010 located a large concentration of floating plastic in the western Atlantic Ocean, following the action of surface currents and governmental neglect. Their study, published in the journal Science, was based on analysis of thousands of pieces of plastic, manually counted by students and collected through networks in more than 6,100 points from 1986 to 2008. No studies on possible trash islands in the Mediterranean Sea, but do not rule their lives. “Surface currents are different from the oceans, but there are hot spots of contamination perfectly located as the Strait of Gibraltar or Algeciras” qualifies Silvia Garcia, a marine scientist with Oceana
Irreversible ecosystem damage The ecosystem damage is irreversible. The garbage has destroyed a third of the surface of marine habitats, according to the UN, and it is estimated that 35% of critical marine ecosystems have been destroyed. “Ignorance, by its inaccessibility, has been one of the biggest problems for the protection of the oceans,” said Josep Maria Gili, a biologist at the CSIC Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona. Ignorance has been one of the biggest problems for the protection of the oceans. Therefore, the International Day for Biological Diversity, held on Tuesday, tries to warn of the alarming health of the oceans and focus on their diagnoses and solutions. The oceans cover over 90% of the area of the Earth and 50% oxygen is produced by microscopic algae, phytoplankton-the base of the marine food chain. Experts point out that biodiversity is at risk for a model of consumption and production that does not value and produces over-exploitation. The key: to fight marine pollution and unsustainable fishing, lobbying to protect habitats such as corals and reduce the CO2 footprint in the atmosphere.
The tenth Conference of Biological Diversity in Nagoya (Japan) in 2010 agreed that 10% of the world’s seas should be protected in 2020. On the Peninsula, the coated surface is still 1%. Projects and NGOs try to reverse this situation. For example, the Biodiversity Foundation under the Ministry of Agriculture, working since 1998 to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.