Every year we throw away millions of tonnes of plastic and huge amounts of this toxic waste finds its way into our rivers and oceans.
Over 7 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the Earth’s oceans. Due to circulating ocean currents, the vast bulk of this toxic waste has accumulated in 5 ocean garbage patches the largest of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. Floating plastic waste trapped in these patches circulates until it is broken up overtime into tiny ‘microplastics’ that are far more difficult to remove from the water. Microplastics are consumed by marine animals and contain toxic chemicals which can increase the risk of disease and limit reproduction. This global pollution incident is threatening the lives of seals, whales, dolphins, seabirds, fish, turtles and many other sea animals.
The Ocean Cleanup
Led by Dutch CEO and founder Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit charity based in the Netherlands. The Ocean Cleanup's mission is to rid the world's oceans of plastic and the group is currently developing and deploying advanced technology aimed at cleaning existing ocean garbage patches and intercepting plastic waste upstream in rivers before it can reach the sea.
The Ocean Cleanup has developed innovative solutions to remove plastic waste from rivers and oceans that do not harm ocean animals and have made amazing progress in removing waste over the last 2 years. In 2020 the group removed 235,505 kgs of plastic waste and by the end of the first quarter 2021 had extracted 464,920 kgs!