This is how we clean 88,000 tons of plastic from the ocean
I wish we could say that there are only 88,000 tons of plastic in all of our oceans. But really, there is 88,000 tons of plastic in an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Luckily, each journey of a thousand steps begins with one and one group has already taken that step.
The Ocean Technology Cleanup “system consists of a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath.” (Source)
As reports continue to surface of nanoplastics making their way into waterways, tap and bottled water, land and vegetation – it’s high time immediate action is taken to clean up at least one of the sources of plastic pollution.
An ambitious project to clean up the 88,000 tons of plastic floating in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has begun. On Sunday, the Ocean Cleanup Project started towing its “Ocean Cleanup System 001” from San Francisco to a trial site some 240 nautical miles (260 miles) away. Once it arrives, the wind and waves will push System 001 into a U-shape and it will slowly drift along on its own. A 10-foot long skirt hanging below will collect pieces of plastic as small as a millimeter in size, and smaller boats will later scoop them up and take them to shore for recycling.
During the two week trial, the system will be “extensively monitored” to make sure it does the job while not harming plankton and other critical marine life. “We want to catch plastic, not fish,” Joost Dubois from The Ocean Cleanup told CNN. “We’re trying to solve an environmental problem so we need to make sure we don’t create a bigger problem in its place.”
The Ocean Technology Cleanup can clean half the Pacific every five years. That may not seem like much but it’s a huge step toward cleanup and can keep more plastics from breaking down into ocean microplastics.
If nothing else, the technology shows us that it is possible to reverse the damage. The possibilities are there.
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