Scientists say majority of plastics in Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be traced back to 6 countries

A team of researchers has determined that 90 percent of plastic items in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch that have identifiable markings on them can be traced back to only six countries.

The majority of the plastics in the 620,000 square mile area of the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii branded the Great Pacific Garbage Patch originated in Japan and China, according to the team from the Ocean Cleanup project and Wageningen University.

Approximately two thirds of the objects collected and identified by the researchers was from one of the two countries. Ten percent of the plastics were made in South Korea, 6.5 percent in the United States, 5.6 percent in Taiwan, and 4.7 percent in Canada. The items were identified using written markings and labels on items larger than 5 centimeters wide. 

Most of the garbage, carried to the Patch by ocean currents, appears to originate in countries with large fishing industries. The study found much of the plastic waste that ends up in the Garbage Patch actually comes from fisheries, not from on land.

Plastic drinking bottles from recreational boaters and lost or discarded fishing equipment accounted for a large portion of the debris collected for the study.

“Plastic lost at sea has a higher chance of accumulating offshore than plastic emitted from rivers, leading to high concentrations of fishing-related debris in the GPGP,” reported the Ocean Cleanup Project.

The group says the study’s results prove much more effort needs to be put into cleaning up the global fishing industry in addition to other cleanup approaches.

“New findings confirm the oceanic garbage patches cannot be cleaned solely through river interception and highlight the potentially vital role of fishing and aquaculture in ridding the world’s oceans of plastic,” Ocean Cleanup wrote.




The following two tabs change content below.
Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

Leave a Reply