Why is so much attention paid to marine debris?
Oceans occupy more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and, against the popular belief, it’s the oceans (not rainforests) that produce the majority of the oxygen that helps regulate the climate on a global scale. The oceans are also ecosystems that supply mankind with fish, seafood and fertilizers. Plastic that gets into the sea is photodegrading – dissolving from sunlight with the release of toxic substances. These can later get into the animal’s bodies in the form of granules and films, interfere with digestion, and both marine mammals and fish can entangle in the remains of packets and fishing nets. According to Greenpeace’s assessment of 2007, oceanic plastics directly harm at least 267 species of marine life.
‘An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans each year. The problem is found in every known ecosystem and at every level of the food chain, posing a global threat not only to marine wildlife, but also to human health. If current marine pollution trends continue, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050’.
– Stella McCartney
Circular streams in the oceans knock down the plastic into ‘garbage spots’, the most famous and largest of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Spot. Its size is approximately 700,000 to 1.5 million square kilometers. The bottles, containers and packages found in sea water quickly break up into small pieces and form something what’s called a ‘plastic soup’, which is long and expensive to collect. But most of the ocean garbage is actually recyclable and can give rise not only to fabrics, but also to interior objects, sports inventory and even details of engineering structures like overpasses and bridges.
Text: Irina Gorskaia
Images: Business of Fashion, WWD