Strange Waste That Has Been Dumped in the Ocean

Strange Waste That Has Been Dumped in the Ocean

It’s hard to quantify the sheer amount of waste that’s dumped in the ocean annually. Human waste is damaging many vital ecosystems, and detailed information from the Ocean Health Index is available for those that want to study the problem further. Every year, almost a million volunteers take part in the International Coastal Cleanup to clean our beaches of waste that has polluted our oceans. The raw data acquired in this endeavor also help scientists to evaluate the health of our oceans and shed light on the true impact of ocean waste. Let’s take a closer look at this process and some of the strange waste items that have been found on these cleanup operations.

Tracking the Waste

During the cleanup, volunteers track each piece of trash they collect in an app called Clean Swell to ensure that all the raw data can be analyzed later. The two main pollutants are cigarette butts and plastic related waste products. The latest data showed that 1,863,838 cigarette butts were found in the 2016 cleanup efforts. During the same year 1,578,834 plastic bottles were collected, and if you include other plastic items, such as grocery bags, lids, food wrapper, straws and bottle caps, this figure rises to 4,875,000 items of plastic waste. This is a staggering amount of waste dumped in the ocean, and it only represents the areas where a cleanup operation occurred. The actual amount of waste would be far higher if one extrapolated the figure across the world’s oceans.

The Impact of Ocean Waste

Plastic waste, in particular, can be fatal to marine life and ecosystems. The Ocean Conservancy group recently stated that “plastic has been found in 62% of all seabirds and 100% of sea turtle species”. It’s important to realize that despite this plastic is not the only type of material that we can find dumped in our oceans. Let’s take a look at some of the more unusual items recovered at the last annual beach cleanup event.

56 Entire Toilets

15 Brooms

8 Complete Microwave Ovens

4 Drones

2 Typewriters

5 Selfie Sticks

18 Million pounds of assorted trash

And a piano

Now one may be forgiven in thinking that this particular cleanup event was an outlier and that unusual items are rarely found. Well for those detractors and the curious let’s take a look at some of the weirder items found during cleanups in previous years.

139 Televisions

203 Bicycles

72 Barbecue Grills

64 Umbrellas

9,531 Fireworks

271 Shopping Carts

And 195 Cell Phones

On the face of it, this may seem humorous, but the underlying implications are quite tragic in reality. Every year the plastic that enters our oceans actually weighs more than 30,000 elephants. We can only hope that legislation changes, and we can move to more ecologically friendly packaging materials, such as paper bags, reusable shopping totes, and eco friendly water bottles.

If you’re concerned about the level of plastic and other contaminants in our water supplies you can volunteer for the next International Ocean Cleanup event. To improve the quality of your water at home contact a local water treatment professional for advice. They will understand the water conditions that affect your area and will be able to suggest a water treatment system to suit your needs.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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