HELPING PROTECT THE PACIFIC FROM POLLUTION LEARN MORE

The News

  • Pacific Rim Project Launches with Documentary Film

    Date: 16th February, 2016

    The Pacific Rim Project, an initiative dedicated to protecting and preserving the critical ocean habitats of the Pacific Ocean and raising awareness of the threats they face, today launched with a documentary film highlighting the environmental and socio-economic impacts of trash in the Sea of Japan.

    Read more Here ›
  • Project raises millions to clean up world’s oceans

    Date: 11th February, 2016

    From high school project to large scale cleanup, Boyan Slat's ocean refuse collection system is set to take off. The first large trial is set for early next year, when the team will establish a two-kilometre barrier off the coast of Japan's Tsushima Island.

    Read more Here ›

  • The Issue

    The Sea of Japan is a dynamic ecosystem that has sustained a tradition of seafaring and commerce for hundreds of years. Today, commercial pollution and industrial waste from the coast of South Korea and China are threatening this traditional way of life, particularly in small towns and villages along the coast of Japan. And despite efforts to engage the region on clean-up and dumping prevention, South Korea and China have thus far refused to participate. The Pacific Rim Project traveled to the quaint, beautiful city of Kyotango, Japan to explore how this pollution is threatening local traditions and the unique “Singing Sands” beaches that have made it a famous tourist destination the world over.

    Watch The Video
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The Threat

The South China Sea is not only home to a number of infamous territorial disputes, but also to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Overfishing and mercury poisoning threaten the local fish population and the birthplace of nearly 40 percent of the world’s tuna population. Industrial pollution in the form of trash and chemical waste dumping create a toxic environment for all organisms in this dynamic marine ecosystem. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are rapidly acidifying the ocean. And China’s aggressive building efforts continue to destroy massive swaths of coral reef.

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Overfishing
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The South China Sea is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the entire world. In addition to being the birthplace of approximately 40 percent of the world’s tuna population, it is also home to thousands of cataloged plant and animal species. Given the fact that only 5 percent of the world’s oceans have been explored, this is an amazing source of biodiversity. Unfortunately, rampant overfishing and illegal fishing methods (such as dynamite fishing, cyanide poisoning, and bottom trawling) are decimating the local fish populations.

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Industrial Pollution
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Industrial dumping is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the South China Sea, where millions of pounds of trash and industrial waste are dumped each year. According to a 2015 article from the Wall Street Journal, the world’s two largest producers of mismanaged plastic waste are China (producing 27.7 percent of the world total) and Indonesia (responsible for 10 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic). Most of this plastic ends up in the South China Sea.

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Ocean Acidification
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Recent research has shown that as atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide continue to rise, oceans across the world are becoming increasingly acidic. This effect is compounded by countries that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions and with China producing 23 percent of the world’s Carbon Dioxide emissions, this effect has led to the growing acidification of the South China Sea. Rising acidity can make oceans a hostile environment for fish and also leads to decreased skeleton growth in coral.

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Coral Reef Damage
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From an environmental standpoint, the combination of Chinese construction and rising acidification of oceans, is destroying coral reefs across the South Pacific. As ships dredge sand from the bottom of the ocean, they destroy much of what lies on the seabed. It also stirs up large amounts of corrosive sediment, which then settles on nearby reefs. These processes often lead to the destruction of large swaths of coral reefs, in addition to killing turtles, giant clams, and reef-building organisms.

  • The Problem

    While large amounts of plastic trash continues to wash up on the shores of nations that border the South China Sea, an even larger portion of this trash is swept up into ocean currents. These ocean currents can carry plastic trash for thousands of miles and much of it comes together to form the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. An enormous area in the Pacific, this floating island of trash and chemical sludge is estimated to be anywhere from 700,000-150,000,000 square kilometers in size and poses a significant threat to all organisms that come in contact with it.

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