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A 22-Year-Old’s Plan to Clean Up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A young man’s plan to rid the Pacific Ocean of vast quantities of plastic is well on its way, with the project’s kickoff scheduled to begin within the next year. If all goes well, the scheme may make it possible to rid the ocean of what Science Alert calls “a swirling vortex of garbage” in the world’s waters.

Staggering amounts of plastic waste, from water bottles and plastic bags to tiny microbeads and microfibers, are entering waterways worldwide. It's estimated that 165 million tons of plastic are polluting the world's oceans, but when you calculate microplastic, the kind that's found deep beneath the surface, the number is probably far higher, so an invention of this type may just be the saving grace for Earth’s oceans.

However, this doesn’t address the fact that 80 percent of ocean plastic actually comes from land. Fisheries, fishing vessels and other ships contribute less than 20 percent of plastic debris, but no matter who puts it there, once it’s in the ocean, it's known that nearly 700 species (and probably many more) sea animals are negatively impacted by such debris.

Many people believe that recycling is the solution to plastic pollution, but only about 14 percent of plastic products end up being recycled. In the U.S., it's crucial that we rethink our throwaway culture and become more sustainably creative. Ideally, seek to purchase products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. Another important point is to choose reusable over single-use containers. Additionally, consider cutting back on clothes and personal care products, which also circulate plastic back into the food supply.
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