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Research – Closing The Ocean Plastic Mass Balance

I am Mathias Egger, I am a marine scientist working in Ocean Cleanup, and I study ocean plastic pollution. My research is mainly focused on the question of how much plastic is in the ocean and where it ultimately turns out. So, how many are floating on the surface and how much you see eventually plunging to the seabed. It is usually very difficult to obtain data from remote regions, such as debris in the ocean, for example, in the North Pacific. So, what is truly unique is that we have a vessel that has been in this garbage patch for a longer time, say, for several weeks, and it really gives an excellent opportunity to collect data not only in one day, but in fact for a longer period. a period of time. It looks so immaculately, if you only look at the ocean for the first time, but the longer you look, the more you see how much garbage floats around, and on a calm day you can see microplastic clouds in the water, so this is not an island but plastic soup, and because it is a soup, and the plastic is so scattered here, which is why we need a cleaning system. We need some method or technology that can first accumulate plastic and concentrate it into a smaller surface area before we can efficiently remove plastic from the ocean. It is huge, and this is what a garbage patch consists of, half of which is sea sources of garbage, and this is how it looks. Big. In studies of ocean plastic, there is a large gap between the amount of plastic that, in our opinion, falls into the ocean and the amount of plastic that we return. So in the past, “Ocean Cleanup” took some measurements in the vertical distribution of plastic to see how much it actually is on the surface, and then how it decreases with depth, but this study focused on the top five meters of the water column. What we do now, we go on. So instead of focusing on the top five meters, we actually go down to two thousand meters. Also from the point of view of the flow, what is the flow of plastic from the ocean surface to the deep sea, there is simply no information about what has been collected so far, and this is what we are striving with using this mission to fill this gap, deepen and dive into the ocean and try to get a more complete picture of plastic pollution here. So, we just deployed two types of equipment: one – to characterize the water column, measure salinity, temperature, density. And the other one is a pump, we use this pump to select microplastics to see how deeply we find microplastics, whether it is there, in the deep sea, and how it actually reaches the deep sea, that’s what interests us. It’s sad to see it. first hand, on the other hand, and that is why I joined The Ocean Cleanup, it motivates me to see that we are doing something against it. We are trying to clean it up. We are trying to understand how these patches are formed, how long they persist … so it’s good to be here. ,

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