|Overview: Ocean Plastic Cleanup|
Capturing and recycling plastic debris from oceans.
What is Ocean Plastic Cleanup?
John Spacey, updated on June 28, 2016
Ocean plastic cleanup is an strategy to reduce the amount of plastic debris floating in the world's oceans. The most common variant of the strategy is to manually clean up beaches that tend to attract large amounts of plastic due to ocean currents. Plastic is then sorted and recycled or reused. A typically beach cleanup recovers about 90% plastic items. Plastic is estimated to take 50 to 600 years to decompose depending on the type and conditions. There are an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating or sunken in the world's oceans. Such plastic enters the food chain and potentially threatens all ocean species and related ecological processes. Plastic also makes oceans less appealing and usable.Large scale technologies have also been proposed for cleaning up visible plastic items from areas of concentration such as the great Pacific garbage patch. In theory technology could also be developed to clean up microplastics but this is a huge task as it is highly distributed amongst the estimated 332,519,000 cubic miles of water on the planet.
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