Surface clean-up technology won’t solve ocean plastic problem

EurekAlert!

Clean-up devices that collect waste from the ocean surface won’t solve the plastic pollution problem, a new study shows.

Researchers compared estimates of current and future plastic waste with the ability of floating clean-up devices to collect it – and found the impact of such devices was “very modest”. However, river barriers could be more effective and – though they have no impact on plastic already in the oceans – they could reduce pollution “significantly” if used in tandem with surface clean-up technology.

The study – by the University of Exeter, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Jacobs University and Making Oceans Plastic Free – focusses on floating plastic, as sunk waste is difficult or impossible to remove depending on size and location.

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