Researchers discover an island in the Pacific four times the size of Germany – it is highly dangerous
Shutterstock/ Ethan DanielsA giant island of trash floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Researchers are now horrified to discover that it is already much larger than previously thought- meanwhile, it’s more than four times like Germany. And it continues to grow inexorably.
This is the result of a three-year study of the huge garbage island in the Pacific Ocean. In their work, scientists created the most detailed analysis of the entire region to date and transferred it to a map. They found that the garbage island is made up of more than 1.8 trillion plastic pieces, about 80.000 tons and covers an area of 1.6 million square kilometers. For comparison, Germany is 357.376 square kilometers in size.
The new study, recently published in the journal "Nature The results of the study, which were published in a new journal, show that significantly more large plastic items are a part of the island than was assumed. The researchers discovered fishing nets, plastic crates, bottles and even a toilet seat. The vast majority, however, consists of so-called microplastics. These are small plastic particles, which are less than 0.5 millimeters in size are.
The garbage island does not become smaller. On the contrary.
These plastic pieces come not only from ships cruising the Pacific, but also from carelessly discarded trash from the countries that are settled around it. Rivers carry waste away from coasts and into the open sea. Due to the currents, the garbage collects in the middle of a gigantic vortex, which holds the island in position.
Although this huge accumulation of plastic waste has attracted attention and indignation several times since its discovery in the 1980s, the island has by no means been reduced in size. Rather the opposite.
Plastic waste island The Ocean Cleanup
„While we can’t yet draw precise conclusions about how plastic pollution persists in the Pacific, this buildup does indicate that the influx of trash into the island is greater than the outflow", writes Laurent Lebreton, author of the study.
A losing battle if nothing changes
In fact, this island of garbage is only one of many such accumulations that exist in the numerous currents and eddies of our oceans. Despite promises by hundreds of Earth nations to limit plastic consumption and do something about the high amounts of plastic that drift into our oceans every day, shockingly little is being done by governments.
Non-profit organizations like Ocean Cleanup therefore have other plans. They plan to send out large fleets of boats equipped with floating barriers and underwater monitors. They hope to eliminate about half of the plastic waste in the next five years. The first test trial is expected to take place later this year.
Nevertheless, the organizations warn that the fight is futile if as much plastic continues to enter the oceans as is currently the case. Experts estimate that if we do nothing, the amount of plastic will triple in the next ten years. By 2050, there would be more trash in the ocean than fish.