Support legislation to curb plastic production and waste. Participate in (or organize) a beach or river cleanup. Through its essays, Ocean Cleanup has helped to raise awareness about the problem of plastic pollution. The organization has improved scientific understanding of the types of plastic in the ocean and where it comes from.
However, since its inception, independent scientists have criticized the cleanliness of the oceans. Some expressed concern about the unwanted harm that booms could pose to marine life, such as pelagic fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals. A much discussed topic has been the effects of booms on Neuston, a little known community of organisms that lives in the ocean gyres. The Neuston includes animals, plants and microorganisms such as the Portuguese warship, sea snails and sailing jellyfish that let themselves be carried away by the wind and currents.
Neuston and plastic waste, maneuvered by the same forces, are found in the same areas. Collecting plastic means collecting Neuston, with unknown consequences for the food chain on the high seas. Experts such as Dubois, from the Ocean Legacy Foundation, and Marcus Eriksen, chief scientist at 5 Gyres, an environmental research organization, say that beach cleaning is another effective way to address the problem of plastic. Before the in-depth research that underpins the report, Stuchtey says, many of the proposals to address plastic pollution in the oceans were often “not reconciled, untested and unsubstantiated.”.
System 001 is a 62-mile-long barrier that attacks plastic waste, microplastics and ghost nets of gyres, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. As for Pew, the next steps are to seek governments, companies and civil society to sign a joint statement on the prevention of plastic pollution in the oceans; working to give policy makers more access to the findings of the report; and determining how the Trusts can best be positioned to help solve this problem. One image that has become iconic is that of the plastic bag found in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean, 36,000 feet below sea level in the Pacific Ocean. Australian researchers who analyzed ocean sediments estimated that there are now nearly 15.5 million tons of microplastics at the bottom of the ocean.
However, he noted, the report showed a credible way to stop the avalanche of plastic pollution in the ocean. Last year, in collaboration with researchers from the United Kingdom and Germany, Hohn published an analysis of what it would take for Ocean Cleanup to collect only floating plastic in the five largest gyres. Like many of his colleagues in marine plastic research, Hohn believes that the whole principle of cleaning the ocean is wrong. According to the report, plastic in the ocean comes in countless well-known forms, from shopping bags and takeaway food containers to water bottles, toothbrushes, toys, bubble wrap, appliances and much more.
However, the difficulties of the Ocean Cleanup campaign and the finding that most of the ocean's plastics, small, sunken and degraded, are almost impossible to collect, are revealing. Yonathan Shiran, project director and author of an attached scientific study, compares cleaning plastic from the ocean to cleaning a flooded house. Van Sebille's research estimated that there are 276,000 tons of small plastic floating on the surface of the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup Interceptor program recognizes the fluvial source of most marine plastic waste and attempts to trap it closer to the source.