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Great Pacific Garbage Patch & the First-Ever Ocean Cleaning Machine

A piece of candy wrap may look small and harmless, but it can kill thousands of sea creatures when thrown out to the Ocean as garbage. There’s a massive amount of plastics in the sea that’s slowly destroying our water. It’s a fact that motivated scientists to create and launch the first-ever ocean-cleaning machine that’s set to gather the planet’s biggest Plastic trash.

The idea initially came from a teenager. It’s made of a system that will be shipped to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this summer. The patch located between Hawaii and California was discovered in 1997, which contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic trash. This step is the world’s first attempt to solve the issue about our sea garbage.

According to experts, the sea-cleaning machine should be able to gather half of the plastic waste in the patch, which is about 40,000 metric tons within five years.

Developers of the system have been working together to form giant tubes that will be placed on top of the ocean, serving as the skeleton of the sea-cleaning machine. Once done, it will be the most massive floating sea barrier in history.

The GPGP or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches about 617,763 sq. miles, twice the size of France. Researchers found last month that it now contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic garbage, mostly made up of “ghost gear.”

Ghost gear are fishing gears that have been lost or abandoned in the sea. It’s made up mostly of nets and cords that are usually used as illegal fishing tools.

More than 100,000 sea creatures such as dolphins, whales, and seals die each year because of ghost gear. Based on scientific surveys, besides fishes, the number of seabirds dying due to plastic trash increases every year as well. These animals were found to have a stomach full of small plastics that cause their death.

Ocean Cleaning Machine

Many sea creatures mistake the plastics as food. The animals eat the garbage discarded in the sea, making them starve to death. Other marine life gets trapped and die of starvation due to plastic, get strangled, or suffocated.

According to US-based Plastic Oceans Foundation, humans dump about 8 million tons of plastic to the sea every year. 90 percent of these plastic wastes are never recycled. Experts believe that each plastic still exists somewhere or in other forms, in landfills or the environment. Each plastic waste, especially single-use plastic, takes 450 years to decompose.

The first-ever system that tackles gigantic plastic sea-trash is designed by a non-profit technology company, The Ocean Cleanup. The system came from Dutch inventor Boyan Slat when he was 18 years old and was studying aerospace engineering.

“The plastic pollution problem has always been portrayed as something insolvable. The story has always been ‘OK, we can’t clean it up – the best we can do is not make it worse’. To me that’s a very uninspiring message,” according to Mr Slat in his interview with independent.co.uk.

“What I really hope is that the ocean clean-up in this century can be a symbol for us using technology to make things better.”

The machine consists of 40ft plastic pipes, formed together to create a long, snake tube. The tube will be filled with air, so it can float on the ocean surface in an arc, where nylon screens are attached, hanging below under the sea, forming a giant dustpan. The dustpan will be able to catch the plastic sea wastes that are being carried by the water current. However, the screens won’t be able to collect microplastic or tiny fragments. The Sea creatures will be able to escape the nets by swimming underneath them.

Ocean Cleaning Machine

The non-profit org, Ocean Cleanup, plans to launch the system and begin de-cluttering starting from the shores of San Francisco Bay. They’re set to work by July, which will eventually extend further.

The team plans to use 60 giant floating pipes that’ll reach a mile from end to end. Then, every six to eight weeks, boats will collect the garbage gathered by the machines.

Inventor, Mr. Slat, was 16 when he saw the ocean trash with his own eyes while driving in Greece. It was the first time he witnessed the massive amount of garbage polluting the ocean.

“There were more bags than fish down there,” Mr. Slat said in an interview.

Two years after, Mr. Slat, invented a solution. When he reached his sixth month in the university, he decided to quit and established The Ocean Cleanup as a company.

The company was able to raise £1.57m from their crowdfunding campaign. In addition to later investment, they now have a total of £28.56m. The Ocean Cleanup has 65 paid staff, including researchers and engineers.

“We as [a] humanity created this problem, so I think it’s our responsibility also to help solve it,” Mr. Slat said.

Slat, 23, believes that the first batch of plastic trash that will be brought to the shore will be a significant milestone.

According to Mr. Slat in his interview with Fast Company, “Most of the plastic is still large, which means that in the next few decades if we don’t get it out, the amount of microplastics can be tenfold or 100-fold. It’s this problem that’s waiting out there to magnify many times unless we can take it out.”

Enjoy this short video that explain the situation :

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ocean-plastic-cleanup-machine-great-pacific-garbage-patch-launch-boyan-slat-a8317226.html

The post Great Pacific Garbage Patch & the First-Ever Ocean Cleaning Machine appeared first on Feras Antoon Reports.



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