World's Largest Ocean 'Garbage Patch' Reaches Size Of France

The Great Pacific garbage patch of aggregated floating litter has expanded to the size compatible with that of France

Moscow, RUSSIA - August 11, 2020 (UrduPoint News / Sputnik): The Great Pacific garbage patch of aggregated floating litter has expanded to the size compatible with that of France, Philippe Cousteau Jr., a grandson of renowned oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and his wife Ashlan Gorse Cousteau told Sputnik in an interview on Tuesday.

"We have five huge 'garbage patches' in the ocean," Ashlan Gorse Cousteau said, adding that "the largest garbage patch is located in the Pacific Ocean, with its size larger than that of the US state of Texas and an area equal to France."

As explained by Philippe Cousteau Jr., garbage patches predominantly consist of plastic which ends up in the ocean from rivers from all over the world due to specifics of oceanic streams.

Cousteau's EarthEcho International environmental foundation is encouraging young people worldwide to partake in the cleanup of waters from plastic, among other things.

The environmental advocate said that while we cannot make oceans completely climate neutral, we can significantly reduce our hazardous impact on them, for example, by starting to travel clean. A good example is teen climate activist Greta Thunberg who chose to travel to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York last year on a zero-emission carbon-neutral racing yacht.

"Today we have the technologies to use solar panels on ships, which is really great because conventional engines pollute the environment. There are already technologies that can recycle our waste before we dump it in the ocean. All this is and can be used," Philippe Cousteau Jr. said.

Additionally, people can opt out for renting ships rather than owning them to reduce the number of vessels, the environmentalist said, adding that he himself does not own one and normally rents ships for expeditions.

According to Cousteau, the coronavirus pandemic "gave the ocean a small break," as the number of vessels and the scale of transpiration dropped during the global lockdown.

"But the ocean's existing problems the climate change and extensive fishing cannot be solved in a couple of months as people reduce their marine presence. This is good, but in fact, it does not solve anything. What really matters is long-term solutions," the environmental advocate argued.

As an example of such solutions, he cited the initiative of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to create the world's largest sanctuary in Antarctica.

If implemented, it will turn some 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) of Antarctic waters into a so-called marine protected area with strict regulations on pouching, fishing and drilling for fossil fuels.

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