80% of Ocean Plastics comes from land sources
Stephen feels encouraged that his efforts cleaning up the beaches are making a huge impact for Marine Life.
Ocean plastic pollution is a devastating crisis. This infographic from by UK-based Eunomia Research & Consulting shows exactly where the plastic trash is coming from, where it ends up and why it's important to fight against this environmental scourge at the beach.
Eunomia was able to come up with a new estimate of annual global emissions of "primary" microplastics, such as microbeads, fibers or pellets; Microplastics are the result of larger pieces of plastic breaking down into small, tiny pieces.
These tiny non-biodegradable pieces of plastic are a cause for worry, as they are being gobbled up by plankton and fish. Microplastics work their way up the food chain. Microplastics have been found in in ice cores, across the seafloor, vertically throughout the ocean and on every beach worldwide. Microplastics are also very absorbent, meaning they pick up the chemicals they float in.
Eunomia compiled a report of their research that was released earlier this year. The report shows an astounding 94 percent of the plastic that enters the ocean ends up on the ocean floor, with an estimated 70 kilograms of plastic per square kilometer of sea bed on average.
Despite the high profile of projects intended to clean up plastics floating in mid-ocean, relatively little actually ends up there. Barely 1% of marine plastics are found floating at or near the ocean surface, with an average global concentration of less than 1kg/km2. This concentration increases at certain mid-ocean locations, with the highest concentration recorded in the North Pacific Gyre at 18kg/km2.
By contrast, the amount estimated to be on beaches globally is five times greater, and importantly, the concentration is much higher, at 2,000kg/km2. While some may have been dropped directly, and other plastics may have been washed up, what is clear is that there is a "flux" of litter between beaches and the sea. By removing beach litter, we are therefore cleaning the oceans.
This is why we believe that Beach Clean Ups are a very important thing to do. Also, always pick up trash when at the beach to prevent plastics from reaching the ocean and harming marine life.