Why This Isn’t The Solution

Thinking of ideas to save the ocean is easier said than done. Finding a solution is hard to accomplish because there are several factors that aren’t usually considered. These are listed below.

  1. Concentration of trash changes throughout the year and is not evenly distributed.
    • Because bodies of water are constantly moving, it is hard for trash to be kept in one area. Also, the trash doesn’t group up together in one pile. Little pieces float along until they either wash onto shore, or are consumed.
  2. Modes of transport throughout these bodies of water cause fuel.
    • Using fuel to get rid of trash in the water would counter act more than help. Fuels such as oils inhibit the environment and affect marine life just as much as trash.
  3. Most of the debris are bits of broken down plastic called microplastics.
    • Micro plastics as described in the waste section are little bits of plastic that are broken down from being in the sun. These pieces are hard to collect because the size makes it hard to see in the water. They can also be mistaken for food by smaller organisms, which poses a threat for the whole food chain, especially to humans.
    • Microplastics are also home to pollutants such as DDT. Heavily concentrated DDT  contaminated pellets accumulate and when mistakenly consumed are harmful to the consumer and his predator. This source from Regional Studies in Marine Science provided insight to DDT levels in sediment concentrations.

      Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 11.26.30 PM

      The data above shows that there are very high concentrations of DDT in the Marina Del Ray, LA/LB Harbor, and San Diego Bay.

  4. The areas of water that are affected are unbelievably large.
    • The Pacific, for example, covers about 30% of the Earth’s surface area. Getting to every bit of trash throughout the whole Pacific, and every ocean/body of water around the world is virtually impossible.
  5. There’s life in the water!
    • Skimming the surface may rid of basic trash, but what about the microscopic organisms that are taken up with it? These organisms make up most of the ocean, so their loss would be devastating.
      • For example, plankton are the base of the food web and are responsible for about 50% of the photosynthesis on Earth

The only solution that would work to rid of future trash and pollution is to stop it at its source. However, getting the whole population to stop using plastic and to start taking on better lifestyle choices is difficult. It is up to the people and companies to stop what they’re doing and think about what needs to be done, before it’s too late.