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The majority of the giant plastic garbage patches floating in the Pacific Ocean come from Japan and China, according to new research. However, The United States, Taiwan, and Canada are also to blame.

Source: The Ocean Cleanup/Youtube

According to the research published in the journal Scientific Reports, the garbage can be traced back to overfishing in Japan and China. Researchers analyzed 573 kilograms of dry hard plastic debris that they collected in 2019 with help from the nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup.

They found that over a quarter of the fragments were from “abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear”. This includes things like oyster spacers, eel traps, lobster, and fish tags, along with plastic floats and buoys.

Out of the 232 plastic objects that the researchers looked at, two third were made in Japan or China. About 6.5 percent came from the United States, 5.6 percent from Taiwan, and 4.7 percent came from Canada. After examining the plastic, they looked at how the debris ended up in the huge plastic patch. They found that a plastic fragment was ten times more likely to originate from fishing activities than land-based ones.

“Oceanic sources such as inputs from fisheries have commonly been attributed about half of a million tonnes per year, but this estimate which has been repeatedly cited over the years, was misinterpreted from an initial study dating back to the 1970s,” the report states.

The plastic trash known as the Pacific trash vortex is estimated to have 1.8 trillion plastic pieces in it. Not only is this horrible for the environment, but it is also bad for marine life and delicate marine ecosystems.

Plastic waste is killing marine life all around the globe at an alarming rate. Dead whales wash ashore with plastic in their stomachs and have been found in the Philippines, Thailand, Spain, and in more places than we can count! Not to mention, half of the baby sea turtle population dies from consuming plastic! Sea Shepherd created an eye-opening campaign to draw attention to how plastic pollution impacts whales and dolphins. Plastic is also found in various land animals as well, like deer and cows.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic Pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below: 

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