A plastic ocean – Fishing gear – Floating with it?

Kip Hansen’s guest essay – September 10, 2022

Several new studies have raised the challenge Jenna Jambeck widely accepted consensus view on Pelagic (Oceanic) resins. Jambeck has been producing for many years study after school blame the escaped plastics found in the world’s oceans for the dumping of plastic through the world’s rivers, which then lead to the unnamed and virtually nonexistent sea river filled with plastic Junk patches.

[ Readers can background this essay by reading my several essays on this topic which have appeared here at WUWT ]

There have been two less hysterical studies of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. The the first is now a few years old. The study was carried out by a team of South African and Canadian scientists. They studied plastic debris that washed ashore on a small island, Island inaccessiblean uninhabited island in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago in the central South Atlantic Ocean:

The island is so small that it doesn’t even show up at that scale, nor does it have any group of islands to which it belongs. The Articles on Wiki There was a photograph of the small beach studied, on which they counted debris washed ashore and identified it by country of origin, and where possible, by date of manufacture. Result:

Meaningful: Many islands on the ocean floor suffer from high levels of trapped debris, especially those near subtropical gyres, where debris floats accumulation. Over the past three decades, plastic bottles for drinks showed the fastest growth rate of all shards on the remote control The island is inaccessible. In the 1980s, most bottles drifted to the island from South America, 3,000 km to the west drifting wind. Currently, 75% of bottles are from Asia, with most from China. Recent production dates indicate that some bottle may have drifted from Asia, and probably poured from shipcontrary to the International Convention regulations on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. Our results question the widely held assumption that most marine plastic debris originating from land.

[ source:  “Rapid increase in Asian bottles in the South Atlantic Ocean indicates major debris inputs from ships”]

[Note:  To drift from China, the bottles would have had to fight their way against prevailing currents around SE Asia, across the Indian Ocean, and around South Africa.  — kh]

Note that there are a number of islands that happen to serve as collection points for floating objects driven by wind and currents. The inaccessible island is one, and in the Caribbean, Big Sand Key is another place with an east-facing coast, popular among Caribbean cruisers for its beach access opportunities. [ Our best finds were two 8-inch diameter antique metal fishing net floats all the way from Portugal and a small plastic brontosaurus. ]

The second and most recent article is: “Industrialized fishing nations largely contribute to floating plastic pollution in the subtropical North Pacific waters.” by Lebreton et al. Lebreton is with Clean up the oceanNGOs have joined the effort to remove plastic from the oceans.

The Ocean Cleanup website says; “Ours new research published today in Scientific Reports Revealed 75% to 86% Plastic Debris in Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) from fishing activities at sea. “

This study also found that much of the debris remaining in the North Pacific Gyre appears to have originated from the tsunami caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake also Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. That tsunami is thought to have washed 5 million tons of waste into the sea, mostly plastic and styrofoam.

Their new study contradicts their long-held belief that the plastic found floating in the oceans comes from plastic waste released from rivers, although they persist with their claim: “Plastic emissions from Rivers remain the main source of plastic pollution from the global ocean near and far.” The latest overall view is that riverine plastics will eventually return to the shores of their region of origin, or if the density is high. more, will sink in the local coastal area.

The study is well worth reading for anyone interested in the issue of plastic pollution.

However, evidence for the origin of soot – plastic floating on the ocean’s surface – is shifting from “emissions from rivers” to a more likely source – “from fishing activities at sea“. Not only is the bulk of the plastic debris found in lost or abandoned fishing lines and nets evident from fishing boats, but research in the South Atlantic shows that these Other trash, floating drinks bottles and other plastic containers also originate on ships and boats – either purposefully disposed of as trash or on board a washed vessel.

During my years as a merchant marine (the Panamanian sailor’s papers, as the ship’s junior officer) in the 1970s, the ship’s junk was crammed into empty, weighted gun holsters when probably by the ship’s engine and plumbing parts being discarded, and thrown on board while we were out at sea. sea. On the other hand, garbage from the gallery and dining room was simply dumped on taffrail Anywhere out of sight of land, many of the seabirds’ delights will feed on the trash itself or on fish that are attracted to food. Glass bottles and jars are usually set aside to be thrown down the bow while we are underway and used by officers lining up prom floor railing for target practice with different guns as the items float.

Since the late 1970s, all ships have Request a signboard clearly set requirements for garbage and garbage disposal on the sea below international MARPOL treaties. Master and shipowners must enforce these rules and can be personally liable for violations committed by crew members on their ships. Since 1988, MARPOL Annex DRAW completely ban Plastic waste dumped into the sea.

Bottom line:

first. Human waste, and all plastics in particular, should be stored, collected, and disposed of responsibly. and must not be allowed to escape into the larger natural environment, including our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Plastic should be recycled when possible. In my opinion that non-recyclable plastic should be used as fuel in factory turns waste into energya concept with which some people disagree.

2. Plastics may be the most important, or at least the most useful, invention of materials science of the modern era, allowing the production of “almost anything”. Therefore, while the disposal of products made from plastic may be a problem, today plastic demonization is completely wrong.

3. No major trash patch in the Pacific. Even NOAA says so. (many times…)

4. Most of the soapnut resin – plastic drifting in the sea –from fishing fleets around the world. This emerging understanding simplifies the problem and allows the development of new solutions. Even plastic that washes up on shores on remote islands seems to have come from fishing boats.

5. The enormous impact of popular disposable PET drinking water bottles can be reduced by reworking a small portion of the PET bottle’s composition so that they break down faster under UV radiation (sunlight) or even better, more easily decomposed through the consumption of bacteria already prevalent in soil or water. Most plastics float in the sea has been consumed by microorganisms and once they have been broken down into very small pieces, they are completely consumed.

6. Nature takes advantage of all possible resources. Those tangled masses of floating nets and fishing lines become floating coral reefs that support creatures and fish. Only humans think they’re ugly.

But before lost and abandoned nets become tangled with the movement of the sea, they can kill fish and marine mammals. Fishing crews should be required to place inexpensive current tracking devices on deployed nets and be held accountable if lost nets are not recovered.

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Author’s comment:

I have written about this many times, but the madmen continue to create the false story that plastic itself is bad and all plastic production should stop. That idea is misleading and counter-progressive.

Our society needs to do a better job of handling our waste and waste. Developed countries should address this internally and provide foreign aid to countries that are still struggling with even the basics of waste collection and proper backfilling. With land filling a problem for many countries that still need a reliable electricity supply, new waste-to-clean energy plants could be the solution to both problems.

The Inaccessible Island Study seems to involve the fishing fleets of Asian nations for the bulk of the debris floating in the sea. Maybe the Greenpeace and SeaKeepers can be effective in this regard.

If you live on or near the ocean, you can help encourage fellow boaters to be more careful with plastic on board and volunteer to clean up the riverbanks and beaches.

Thanks for reading.

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