In our collection of data from waste collected in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), we could be misrepresenting the plastic pollution crisis that is affecting our oceans.
The Fishing Industry
“A 2022 study published in Scientific Reports found that 75% to 86% of the plastic debris in the GPGP originates from fishing activities at sea.”
If scientists are collecting plastic from the patch, then it will be floating plastic. The Ocean Cleanup are doing some stirling work sieving out floating debris from the GPGP.
There are three polymers (chemicals from which plastics are formed) that are lighter than water:
“The three that float in water are less than 1.00 g/mL and these are: HDPE, LDPE, and PP. See the Density Table for actual numbers. Plastics will vary in density when they are manufactured so there is a range of densities for each kind of plastic.”
These 3 polymers are the 3 most used by the fishing industry:
- HDPE – Chemical drums, and fish crates.
- LDPE – Chemical drums, lobster pots, wrapping, lids.
- PP – Fishing nets.
Waste from the Land
Vast quantities of waste are released form the land in to oceans via rivers.
Plastic waste from “the land” is different from fishing waste. The three most popular polymers overall are:
- 1) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) This is one of the most commonly used plastics. …
- 2) High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) …
- 3) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl) …
PET and PVC are both heavier than water, so they sink. NOT A VIDEO : Link for Video.
Because we are only counting plastic that floats, it is likely pointing finger at fishing industry as they are more likely to use low density polymers. The fishing industry is still doing a bad job of looking after there waste, and it is also suicidal for them to do this as an industry, as the micro plastics and associated ecosystem, disruption will reduce their yields in the long run.