In some truly horrifying news about the state of our planet, the Great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP) is now officially bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined and it’s still growing. The study published in the journal of Scientific Reports found about 80,000 tonnes of buoyant plastic, that’s about the weight of 500 jumbo jets.

Ocean Clean Up
Image: The Ocean Clean Up

The marine gyre between Hawaii and California now contains around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Scarier still is that the majority of the waste is microplastics (tiny fragments of plastic smaller than 50mm) that can be swallowed by fish and therefore enter the food chain. While the larger items such as fishnets kill marine life when they get stuck in them. And this is only above the water, the scenario below is much worse!

Ocean Clean Up
Image: The Ocean Clean Up

The Ocean Cleanup project says eight million tonnes of plastics enter our oceans every year. Meanwhile, global plastic production hit 322 million tonnes in 2015, according to the International Organisation for Standardisation. This is what we are dealing with in today’s throwaway society and something must be done!

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By Orla O'Muiri

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