Environment

Ocean Cleanup video artfully depicts demise of Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Ocean Cleanup video artfully depicts demise of Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup has shared a new animation detailing its approach to tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup has shared a new animation detailing its approach to tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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The Ocean Cleanup is transitioning to a larger System 003, which it says will make its operations far more efficient
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The Ocean Cleanup is transitioning to a larger System 003, which it says will make its operations far more efficient
The Ocean Cleanup has shared a new animation detailing its approach to tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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The Ocean Cleanup has shared a new animation detailing its approach to tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup has a huge task on its hands in ridding the seas of plastic waste, but a sleek new video offers a compelling look at its latest plan of attack. The animation shows massive trash-collection barriers sweeping through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with great efficiency, with the company envisioning 10 of these systems would be enough to put a serious dent in the problem.

After first introducing the idea back in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup team has developed and tested various iterations of its giant trash-collecting barriers. Its plans involve deploying these in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to gather up plastic debris, and last year proved the viability of this approach with a massive haul.

It is currently in the midst of transitioning from the System 002 barrier used in that early operational mission to a much larger System 003. These new U-shaped barriers will measure 2,500 m (8,200 ft) long and will be towed by boats, using a 4-m-deep (13-ft) skirt to funnel plastic waste from the surface into a collection chamber. This waste is then pulled up onto support vessels and taken back to shore.

The Ocean Cleanup is transitioning to a larger System 003, which it says will make its operations far more efficient
The Ocean Cleanup is transitioning to a larger System 003, which it says will make its operations far more efficient

The larger system is expected to make the cleanup more efficient and economical, with a lower cost per kilogram of plastic waste removed from the waters. According to its latest projections, The Ocean Cleanup team expects that 10 barriers based on the System 003 design would be enough to scoop up the entire 100,000 tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The video below demonstrates how this would take place, and it’s well worth a look. It artfully depicts the scale of the problem and the way The Ocean Cleanup plans to solve it, with interesting technical details woven throughout, such as the use of drones to identify plastic hotspots in the patch. Check it out below.

The End of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch | The Ocean Cleanup

Source: The Ocean Cleanup

12 comments
12 comments
CarolynFarstrider
Great start at picking up floating plastics (and hopefully using the information about their origins to see part of the picture of sources and destinations), but what happens to microplastic particles that fall below 4m deep? We have to clean up AND stop producing them in the first place.
martinwinlow
@CarolynFarstrider - Not producing any microplastics is not realistic (sorry!) - it is how we dispose of what plastics we do use that is key. There is also much progress that could be relatively affordably made to replacing plastic use with natural materials.
1stClassOPP
What do they do with the plastic waste once the land it?? How many fish have been caught In those giant. nets?
Capt_Ahab84
I'm wondering if high-temperature incineration would be the most effective way to deal with this plastic waste. I understand if the temperature is high enough, there should be little to no toxic smoke and it would be reduced to ash.
Robert Stiles
Is there anyway to find out who is dumping the trash into the ocean?
Nelson Hyde Chick
Take a look at any means humanity tries to prevent environmetal distruction, and it never keeps-up with population gain. If over a twenty year period you make some human activity 25% less imapctful on the environment on a per capita basis but on account of population gain and bringing the poor out of poverty the per capita grows by 50% it is a net loss.
Aross
The problem is how much plastic is produced and abused. Cookies used to be packaged in cardboard tubes, now they are in non recyclable plastic trays that look like they hold lots of cookies but actually hold less than half the capacity. Water in plastic bottles when most cities produce perfectly potable water. Rope now made from plastics that used to be made from natural and therefor biodegradable material. Food containers made from plastic that used to be made from glass with metal lids both recyclable. We are told that this is to keep costs down but all these things do is increase the profits.
Robert Stiles asked who is doing the dumping. Everybody, humans are pigs. I don't know if it is still happening but as an example New York City used to dump barge loads of garbage of the east coast of the USE daily. Apparently recycling companies are still doing it.
DaveWesely
Good questions, @1stClassOPP. If you watch the second video (not the first, it's just fluff), you'll find about 2% of the stuff caught is fish. Most are returned to the ocean, but many are caught because they are sick or dying. The net moves much slower than a fishing net so the fish are able to escape easily.
As for what is done to the plastic after it's caught, they don't say.
But some of the solutions we come up with to deal with plastic waste make me want to cry.
RECYCLING. Nope. This is a come on by the plastics industry to shift blame for plastic waste onto the consumer. Plastics recycle poorly. They melt at a huge range of temperatures, cannot be mixed for reuse, have tons of additives for individual applications, and are easily contaminated with labels and residue. The further you go down that rabbit hole, the worse it gets. And "recycling" is probably a big contributor to the plastic ocean pollution. Rich countries ship plastic waste to poor countries to be separated and sorted. With few environmental controls and regulations, a lot of it ends up in the rivers, and then the oceans.
INCINERATION. Oh, G** No. Yes it can be burned but plastics have a lot of other elements in them like chlorine and fluorine. Even if high temperature pyrolysis is used, the output is problematic. And think about what we are doing. We are taking a stable solid carbon compound (40-90% carbon), and turning it into carbon dioxide. Even if it is turned into syngas and other fuels. Because they are converted into carbon dioxide eventually.
LANDFILL DISPOSAL. Yeah, nobody likes landfills. They're smelly, produce methane, and contaminate groundwater. Or do they? Modern landfills in the US (since the 1970s) are lined to prevent groundwater contamination. Runoff is treated. They are covered and methane is usually collected. Sometimes for power generation. The methane comes from rotting food and organic waste, not plastic. So, if we put plastic in landfills, we are sequestering carbon. It is far less polluting than burning it or shipping it overseas to be dumped.
mystixa
One of the things that they do with the plastic is they have a company that recycles a lot of it into objects that they sell to partially fund the operation.
ljaques
Yes, I can see how cleaning up the 5 patches (not just the Pacific) would be a good thing. But I'd sure like to see all the countries collect their trash IN their rivers, preventing it from going out to one of the patches. BUY INTERCEPTORS, EVERYONE. Or build similar collectors yourselves.
@ Robert Stiles Yes. https://theoceancleanup.com/updates/the-other-source-where-does-plastic-in-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-come-from/ etc.
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