Update: the great Pacific garbage patch
On June 5th, 2018, a 51-year old Frenchman named Ben Lecomte donned a shark-repellent bracelet, dove into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, and began swimming to the United States.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But the motivation behind his 5,500 mile journey is also unbelievable: the great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP) is now thought to be four to sixteen times larger than previously known. In other words, it’s three times larger than Lecomte’s native country of France. During the next six months, Lecomte, along with his 13 scientific partners, will navigate into the heart of the patch to study it up close.
The GPGP was first discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore as he sailed the Pacific. In the decades since, scientists have realized that plastic garbage is pushed to the North Pacific gyre by the ocean’s circular currents. A common assumption is that the GPGP is made up of countless whole plastic items—bottles, bags, straws, containers and other similar things.
Sadly, the reality is even more threatening: 94 percent of the plastic pieces in the GPGP are microplastics or plastic debris less than 0.5 centimeters in diameter. Yes, there are countless larger pieces of debris knotted together by discarded fishing nets. But as Lecomte’s first mate, Tyral Dalitz, describes it, “Rather than calling it an island of trash, it is more like plastic smog throughout the ocean.”
An effort led by Dutch activists called The Ocean Cleanup aims to cut the GPGP to half its size within five years. In their own words, it’s a “moonshot project.” Their inventive technology can gather up much of the bulk plastic before it breaks down into microplastic. Unfortunately, The Ocean Cleanup will likely not be able to eliminate microplastics present in the ocean now.
Experts applaud the innovation behind The Ocean Cleanup, but they are also quick to note that consumers around the world have to stop generating plastic waste. Ceasing to buy single-use plastic water bottles is a good place to start.
With this in mind, the Coway Aquamega 100 contributes to the solution by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles you use as a consumer. By using the Coway Aquamega 100 in your home, you and your family can enjoy fresh, clean water every day. The triple-filter system removes up to 99.9% of contaminants, too—no plastic water bottles required.