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Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Ocean Cleanup

Monday, 13 January 2020

Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Ocean Cleanup

Source: Marine Industry News

The Ocean Cleanup has just completed its first mission in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by returning the first batch of ocean plastic to shore. The non-profit organisation is part of a growing demand to develop technologies to rid the world’s ocean of plastic.

 

The CEO, Boyan Slat, has also made an announcement that the plastic will be transformed into sustainable products. These will benefit the organisations productivity by being sold to contribute to the continuation of cleanup operations.

The first mission from The Ocean Cleanup was intended to confirm the passive plastic collection by means of natural forces of the ocean. They made an announcement in October 2019 that the system, which uses massive ghost nets, is capturing plastic debris down to one millimetre in size!

The first cleanup system launched in September 2018 did not perform as well. Named ‘System 001’, early reports showed it was not retaining plastic as intended, and although there were attempts to remedy this the system continued to suffer and had to be returned to shore in January 2019.

Since the return, progress had been productive by performing analysis, redesigning the system and just 5 months later in June 2019 the organisation deployed their second system, labelled System 001/B. The Ocean Cleanup confirmed the success of the new system in capturing plastic after months of technical modifications.

The Ocean Cleanup has grown to a team of 90 engineers and researchers since their founding in 2013. Their future plans entail deploying a fleet of floating barriers to act as an artificial coastline and catch the plastic using natural factors such as wind, waves and current. They are hoping to remove as much as 50% of the Great Plastic Garbage Patch in as a little as five years.

The organisation is not just focusing on this one region – they have developed interceptor technology which enables plastic garbage to be blocked from entering oceans via rivers. This has been put in place in Indonesia, Malaysia and plans are in place for further areas around the world.

 

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