An invention to help clear plastic from our beaches

Ocean activist Mark Ward has come up with a way to remove tonnes of marine micro plastics from our global beaches.

Filtering a Plastic Ocean by North Shore Productions

It’s scary to think how much plastic is in our beautiful ocean. A toxic material that is discarded daily, with little thought to its life beyond our momentary use. Yet go for a walk along the beach or a snorkel not far from the shore and you’re bound to find some form of plastic.

“Micro plastics are a material that’s left over when larger macro plastics like bottles and car parts and plastic bags are broken down. They’re broken down into sizes of 0.5mm to 5mm,” explains Mark. This is where marine animals are ingesting these plastics, and causing devastating deaths. What if the animals we eat are eating micro plastics? You can see where this is leading.

In a bid to remove this plastic from the environment, ocean activist Marc Ward has invented a clever tool anyone can use. A particular polymer material is attached between two rods, which separates micro plastics from the sand. It’s as if it were a giant kitchen sieve filtering flour.

Micro plastics have been ingested at every level of the food web at this point. From luke worms in the bottom of the ocean to sea birds flying above the ocean, and every organism in-between.
Mark Ward

Laced with highly toxic chemicals, a necropsy of deceased marine life has shown that half a kilo of marine plastic can kill a turtle, and just 7 grams for a waterfowl. Image: Screenshot taken from Filtering A Plastic Ocean.

A turtle has ingested plastic causing it to die

Mark has inspired many volunteers around the world to remove tonnes of micro plastics from the marine system. Filtering A Plastic Ocean premiered at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in January 2016—produced and directed by Rory Banyard at North Shore Productions, Inc., in Portland, Oregon.

To find out more information head to seaturtlesforever.org where you can learn more, volunteer and donate. (Article thumbnail from a micro plastics stop-motion animation published by Alice Dunseath)

Profile picture of Samee Lapham, founder of The Kind Guide
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Samee Lapham

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