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Serious ocean pollution now reaching our dinner tables Updated: 2021-05-12 13:31:20 KST

A few weeks ago, Hong Dong Woo's mother-in-law purchased a fish from a local market in Mokpo.
But when she cut open the fish,.. she had an unexpected surprise.

"What should we do. It's completely rotten."

"When we cut open the fish, the stench was overwhelming. The intestines were sucked into the plastic bottle and they were all rotten and melted. I've heard about the seriousness of plastic pollution, but seeing it on my dinner table made me more aware of the issue."

And this wasn't the first time that garbage from the ocean almost ended up on their dinner table.

"My mother-in-law tried to cook monkfish for me before, but when she cut open the fish, we found a ramen packet inside."

To find out how much plastic waste is harming marine life, our team went aboard a ship that works to reduce ocean pollution.

"I'm standing on the deck of one of four ships from Busan that manages the ocean clean-up.
They sail out to sea every day to pick up large pieces of floating trash or to clean oil spills.
The captain says that each ship removes up to 300 tons of trash every year."

On a national scale, 150 thousand tons of trash are removed from Korea's oceans every year.
Rarely a minute passes without another piece of trash floating past in the water.

"Today was just a normal day, and on days like this we collect roughly one or two tons of trash. During monsoon or typhoon season, we sail out 10 times a day to collect trash. I often find dead fish or birds caught up in the waste."

Activists say that the impact of trash is detrimental to not only marine life, but also humans.

"Fish or other marine life will absorb microplastics and the chemical compounds will build up in their bodies. This will inevitably reach us humans, the apex predators."

Activists and governments are seeking out solutions for the problem, but in the meantime they say that the best action that individuals can take is to recycle and reduce their use of plastics.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News, Busan
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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