In order to grab our attention the media only focuses on the worst examples of human pollution in our seas, the camera lens is very small and easily excludes the “bigger picture”. It is importance to keep a balanced view so that we take strategic steps to solve our waste problems rather than to be acting in a panic.
Putting Sea pollution in perspective
There is 1.37 billion cubic Kilometres (1,370 Billion cubic meters) of sea water on earth which is 71% percent of the earth’s surface.
By volume, the oceans make up 99% of the planet’s living space – we live in the other 1%! Humans live in a 2 dimensional world whereas marine life lives in a 3 dimensional world.
The world’s oceans weigh approximately 1,370,000 Billion Kilograms
The National Academy of Sciences estimates that 6.34 billion Kilograms of waste material is thrown into the oceans each year which represents 0.00046% of the sea’s weight.
80% of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land but this is not just rubbish or human waste, it includes issues such as soil erosion.
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) a great deal of this rubbish, mostly plastics, is easily found on the surface of the Pacific ocean in the form of the “Great Eastern Garbage Patch” off the coast of California and the “Great Western Garbage Patch” near the coast of Japan, in my opinion this is where the first clean-up should start. There are 5 plastic accumulation zones identified in our seas and clean-up work has started.
Once the waste materials have been collected we need to find innovative ways to use it for practical purposes, this will be a subject of another article…,