It is estimated that more than 150 million tonnes of plastics have accumulated in the world’s oceans since the onset of industrial production in the 1950s. Each year, the equivalent of over 525,000 truckloads of plastic enters our oceans. At predicted rates, which are increasing, plastics in the ocean is estimated to outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.

 Plastic pieces in the ocean damage wildlife and enter the food chain when ingested by fish. Photograph: Bryce Groark/Alamy

Marine plastic pollution is a huge problem, with an estimated 5tn pieces of plastic now floating in the world’s oceans. The plastic is frequently mistaken for food by fish and birds, causing damage to life throughout the seas and entering the human food chain.

seal entangled in fishing net

Marine litter, particularly when made of plastic, is one of the more challenging problems affecting the marine environment globally. Plastics account for 72% of all marine litter in the world ocean. The remaining percentage includes paper, wood, textiles, metal, glass, ceramics, rubber and any other material that does not degrade within days or months.

The presence of litter in the oceans is felt everywhere. It has been recorded from coastal shallow waters to the seafloor of deepest oceanic trenches and basins. Litter can be deliberately discarded or abandoned in the sea; brought indirectly to the sea by rivers, sewage outfalls, stormwater or wind; or accidentally lost. Gear or parts of it can be lost at sea because of wear and tear linked to normal operations, due to negligent practices and/or bad weather. The universal challenge of addressing and managing marine litter is an example of how challenging it can be to tackle environmental problems.

Expedition Glacialis- partnership with Ghost Gear Initiatives

Abandoned Fishing nets are very dangerous for wildlife and it’s common to see sea turtles and marine mammals to get entangled in such gear. Ghost gear represents 70% of all plastic macro waste in the ocean and recent research found that 46% of garbage in the North Atlantic Garbage patch was fishing gear.

For this purpose, we will partner with ghost gear initiatives and report any fishing nets or macro waste encountered while we look at the sea.

Onboard we will try as much as possible to favour large quantities, recyclable contents and as little packaging as possible. The Zerowaste approach is part of our vision and we will try our best to minimize our plastic impact during this expedition.

If you are interested to report Macro waste you can download the application from Ghost Gear initiatives. (Last version would be in February 2021).

Have a look at the nice video and article from National Geographic