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Environmentalists have removed nearly 40 tonnes of trash from the Pacific

from the Pacific

Plastic waste is seen on Zikim beach, on the Mediterranean coast near the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel February 10, 2019. Picture taken February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RC181ED27CE0
Plastic has a detrimental effect on entire marine ecosystems.
Image: REUTERS/Amir Cohen
The latest annual clean-up voyage by the non-profit Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) used satellite imagery to specifically target discarded fishing gear. More than half a million tonnes of plastic nets - so-called ghost nets - are abandoned each year in oceans across the world, entangling and killing up to 380,000 sea mammals.
The circulating ocean current known as the North Pacific Gyre is believed to contain 1.8 trillion plastic items weighing over 80,000 tonnes. Covering an expanse of ocean three-times the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch lies between Hawaii and California.
OVI has mounted nine previous clean-up voyages to the area but says its latest haul was the largest and most successful to date.
“It is very disturbing to be sailing through what was only decades ago a pristine ocean wilderness and find it filled with our all-too-familiar garbage,” says OVI founder and lifelong sailor Mary Crowley.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Image: The Ocean Cleanup
A critical mass
Pressure to clean up the Pacific is mounting after the discovery that tiny Henderson Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the remote Pitcairn Archipelago, is littered with 38 million pieces of plastic.
An estimated 20 tonnes of plastic waste washes up every year on Midway Atoll near Hawaii, threatening the world’s largest population of Laysan albatrosses, which end up feeding a quarter of it to their chicks. Midway is a United States National Wildlife Refuge.
Laysan albatross chicks amid the plastic rubbish littering Midway Atoll in the North Pacific.
Laysan albatross chicks amid the plastic rubbish littering Midway Atoll in the North Pacific.
Image: Wikimedia

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