Every year millions of tons of plastic enter the ocean and become microplastics or end up in marine litter. Ocean Cleanup wants to eliminate them. It is estimated that there are a total of 80,000 tons of floating plastic in the vast garbage patch in the Pacific, seriously affecting the ecosystem.
The amount of plastic waste entering the oceans is expected to triple in the next 20 years, while efforts to stem the tide have so far failed to contain the trash tsunami.
There have been many projects aimed at extracting significant tons of plastic and they have been successful. However, the amount of waste is so large that it is not enough to meet demand. Ocean Cleanup wants to change this and has become the largest ocean plastic cleanup ever.
Large projects do not happen overnight; they will take years or even decades to become reality. Ocean Cleanup has been in development for more than a decade and involves large-scale ocean cleanup efforts. It was first introduced in 2018, although at the time the plastic collection system was not as effective as expected.
Biologists have warned of the destruction not only of the oceans but also of marine life. For this reason, they immediately warned about the need to stop the discharge of plastic into the Pacific Ocean and particularly focused on filtering river water. The majority of plastic pollution entering the oceans comes from rivers. For this reason, it is important to prevent them from entering the sea and then accumulating in marine landfills.
Tons of sea plastic vs. Ocean Cleanup
However, their strategy requires collaboration to stop the source of the pollution and clean up the accumulated pollution. That’s why they continue to adapt their ocean plastic removal system to extract tons of plastic from the sea. They eventually created System 002, a large-scale experimental system that was prepared for launch. This is the largest ocean cleanup in history.
According to Ocean Cleanup, trash is accumulating in five major garbage areas in the ocean. The largest, however, is the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which lies between Hawaii and California. If nothing is done, plastic will continue to impact ecosystems and even human health. The problem is that it is millions of square kilometers and it is not easy to clean this surface.
Eliminating this amount of waste in an area of this size required a strategic decision that became a major barrier in the project almost a kilometer away. The barrier consists of a U-shaped net that guides the plastic to a safe area on the other side. The network will not function autonomously, but will maintain a low speed thanks to the controlled movements of two manned ships.
As a result, this barrier will result in the largest ocean cleanup in history. Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 90% of plastic pollution from the oceans by 2040.
It would be crucial to be able to achieve this goal because if no action is taken and current trends continue, the amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans will increase to 29 million tons per year by 2040, equivalent to 50 kg each meters of coastline in the world.
In the meantime, from the shore, we can stop dumping plastic on the coast and carry out campaigns to eliminate plastic on the beach, especially in tourist places where it is generated the most. In this way, we prevent the plastics from remaining there and breaking down into very harmful microplastics due to abrasion.
With information from: