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The BIG Plastic Problem

Kiara Vallier   |   September 10, 2015

By now most of us have heard of the impacts that our plastic use as a collective whole have had on the Earth's oceans. In today's world we consume so rapidly and our waste (especially plastic) often times make their way into our precious waters. So far all of the known impacts of plastic in the oceans have been negative (no surprise there) but we continue to consume and toss away our "trash".

The effects of plastic waste in the ocean have been showcased time and time again on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Images and videos of a sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nose, footage from an island that is entirely covered in plastic waste, and photos of bird carcasses filled with plastic forks and lighter pieces circulate the web and gain popularity until the next big social-media topic takes over. Our attention moves from issue to issue as quickly as we tend to throw away our plastic litter. As a result, proponents for ocean conservation are left struggling to stress the importance of staying on track by reducing our consumption of plastic goods.

There are people out there who are serious about making a difference and have adjusted their lifestyles to help. But for the rest of us, it's so easy to get caught up in the day to day that we tend to forget where that plastic kurig cup is going to end up when we are making our morning coffee. A personal goal for me since learning so much more about our oceans has been to do what little things I can to contribute to ocean conservation. That is why here at Deep Trekker we are striving to offer a product that will make ocean observation and the chance to learn about our waters accessible to everyone, not just those with big wallets and super-savvy tech knowledge. Visit our industry page to learn how you can use an ROV to start your educational journey in the waters of the world.

The United Nations is recognizing how big of an issue our plastic waste is becoming. "An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently float in the world's oceans, up from none in 1950 and posing a question about their potential impact on a food supply chain that stretches from plankton – which have been filmed eating plastic pellets – up through shellfish, salmon, tuna and eventually humans, not to mention whales."

"With these troubling facts in mind, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is supporting the efforts of the Dr Fridtjof Nansen, which is plying the waves of the southern Indian Ocean, trawling for trash."

The supported expedition includes around 18 scientists from 8 different countries travelling through the Indian Ocean and measuring ocean temperatures, oxygen levels, chlorophyll and biological processes . However, this year two additional goals have been added to the expedition: "to assess the scale and nature of industrial rubbish in remote parts of the southern Indian Ocean, and to study how the local Gyre, a cyclical vortex of currents, operates to spread plankton and tiny fish."

Learn more about the initiative here.

How are some ways you are trying to conserve or promote ocean health? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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