Unless you have been living under a rock, you have some knowledge about the extent of ocean plastic in our oceans and the devastating effect on our planet. There are innocent marine animals that are being killed daily by consuming single-use plastics or simply being caught in plastic items including turtles getting plastic objects stuck in their noses and other animals being caught in plastic netting. Many news outlets have led us to believe this pollution in the ocean comes from individuals being sloppy and littering at beaches or anywhere close to water, but there is a bigger contributor according to some scientists. Here is some new information we learned about the ocean pollution dilemma.
According to a new study, some cargo ships in China are responsible for some of the ocean pollution problem. While there is no evidence to explain how long the Chinese have been dumping plastic into the ocean, a researcher recently discovered an enormous amount of ocean plastic near a deserted, uninhabited island named Inaccessible Island. While the researcher stayed on the island for close to 72 days, he noticed that almost all the plastic that arrived on the island came from China, and some plastics dumped that was manufactured dated back to 2017. Naturally, the currents in the ocean would make its way to the island within 3-5 years, but due to the sheer amount that was coming to the island within the 72 day period, it only makes sense that Chinese cargo ships were to blame.
This is not the first time that the island has seen ocean plastic increasing. Scientists have visited the island at least three times between 1984 and 2018. During each visit, scientists observed the level of ocean plastic rising by 15% every year, and plastic bottles contribute to the majority of that plastic pollution. Of those plastic bottles, 75% were produced in Asia, specifically in China.
What does all of this mean specifically for ocean pollution and stopping it? Well, there still is a high volume of plastic being produced each year. Currently, the amount of plastic production is growing 8% year after year. While scientists will debate how much of the plastic actually ends up in the ocean, there is more evidence strongly suggesting plastic does not only come from land but other sources as well. These sources include boats dumping them into the ocean, and the increasing amount of plastic production that does not seem to slow down anytime soon.