Every year, over 9 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. This statistic is estimated to increase over ten-fold over the next decade, according to a 2015 scientific journal.
In my hometown of Los Angeles, 10 metric tons of plastic (grocery bags, straws, and bottles) filter into the Pacific Ocean every day. This kind of negligence is not without consequences. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. In this floating plastic island, plastic pieces out number sea life six to one.
What is the effect on marine life? The answer is horrific. Plastic in our oceans kill over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine animals. Seabirds mistake the plastic for food; it reduces the volume of the stomach, causing them to starve to death. A similar story is true for fish and larger mammals. Entanglement in the plastic debris also leads to injury or death in marine animals such as seals, whales, and turtles.
We can take action to help reduce our plastic consumption, such as switching to reusable bags and bottles. We need to become aware of how much plastic we use in our everyday lives and reduce it.
What can be done to rid the oceans of plastic islands? A French-Swiss navigator, Yvan Bourgnon, has a possible solution. Sea Cleaners and he designed a giant solar-powered boat, named Manta, to collect and rid the ocean of 600 square meters of trash. It can sort and compact plastic waste before bringing it to the shores to be recycled.
怎样可以去除海洋上的塑料岛屿呢？以为法国-瑞士的航海家，Yvan Bourgnon, 有一个可能的解决方法。 海洋清理员和他设计了一个巨大的太阳能帆船，取名为“薄荷糖”, 用来收集和清除600平方米的海洋垃圾。它可以分类和压缩垃圾，然后把垃圾带上岸回收。
Manta is expected to launch in 2022 and they hope to see 100 more boats following the first one to contribute solving this problem. Each boat is estimated to cost 30 million euros; the Manta is currently financed through private donations. Bourgnon says that states, regions, and populations should reach into their wallets to finance more. It is the responsibility of all people and countries to care for our planet, and right now, the ocean deeply needs out help.
This boat is a great step in the right direction for environmentalists; however, there is currently no solution for gathering the micro plastics or infinitely tiny pieces of plastic that are consumed by fish and contaminate the food chain.
The only true solution for a cleaner ocean is to rapidly change the way we all live and consume. We must move away from all disposable plastics and single use products. Otherwise, we will only continue to be using a bandage on a bullet wound.
Chinese version: Wenlan