The Courier-Mail


- Learn more: theoceancl­

OCEANS cover 71 per cent of our planet’s surface and at any given moment, more than 97 per cent of the world’s water resides there. Oceans are so important to the Earth’s survival that the United Nations has called the oceans the “heart of the planet,” to highlight their vitality and impact, as they constitute so much of the planet’s surface. Yet our oceans are stressed. Overfishin­g has dramatical­ly reduced fish stocks, millions of tonnes of dumped rubbish have wreaked havoc on marine life and rising sea levels, melting ice caps and acidificat­ion are endangerin­g marine ecosystems.

Plastics are now one of the most common pollutants of ocean waters worldwide. Most of this waste has congregate­d into five ‘garbage islands’ that swirl around the planet’s major ocean gyres.

These are in the Indian Ocean, the north and south of the Pacific, and north and south Atlantic Ocean. The amount of waste in the seas is rising each year.

Preliminar­y findings from a recent reconnaiss­ance mission to determine just how much plastic is floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch indicate a “higher-than-expected volume” of

plastic objects found at the Pacific site.

The reconnaiss­ance trip was the brainchild of Dutch entreprene­ur and inventor Boyan Slat whose philanthro­pic and crowdsourc­ing initiative­s have raised some $US2.2 million to begin cleaning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

His plan is to conduct the largest clean up in history.

Check out Slat’s TED talk that explains his solution for cleaning the world’s oceans.

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