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Ocean Cleanup Project Begins

Posted on September 25, 2018 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

As much as concerned citizens like yourself do everything possible to keep a low carbon footprint, bigger help is needed. Scientists across the globe have been hard at work in the lab creating everything and anything to lessen the human pollution impact. One young inventor has joined the ranks of these Eco-scientists with a device that is creating skepticism and hope all at once. Titled ‘The Ocean Cleanup,’ the unique device is called “the boom” and the young inventor is Boyan Slat, a Dutch aerospace engineering student drop-out, turned entrepreneur (reported here in the Greenhome blog in 2016).

The boom is a giant, long armed plastic pollution gathering contraption that has recently started its journey from San Francisco bay towed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). The GPGP is a massive accumulation of plastic and other trash twice the size of Texas that sits between California and Hawaii. Ocean Cleanup has announced that it intends to cleanup approximately 150,000 pounds of plastic within the first year and aiming to remove half of the GPGP by the end of five years.

Plastic From the 60’s

The GPGP is one of the largest, tangible missteps of the human race since the ozone layer was nearly depleted just over two decades ago. It is the result of ignorance, irresponsibility and a greed driven, corporate run society continually sweeping global threats under the rug to reap a bigger bottom line for a select few. The GPGP is so vast it includes layers below the surface with researchers reporting that some plastic pulled from the site dates back to the 1960’s and 1970’s. This gives you an idea of how long politicians and corporations alike have turned a blind eye to such a pollution travesty.

The inception of the boom came when Boyan Slat was just sixteen years old. He went scuba diving in the Mediterranean sea and suddenly encountered more plastic bags than actual fish. It enraged him so much that he began designing the boom.

The Boom

With donations of over $35 million dollars, Slat and his team of 100 scientists and engineers created and evaluated the boom for five years with test runs off the coast of Japan and other locations. After these successful trial runs, the GPGP was next. Now a reality, the 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom gets underway.

As reported by the Associated Press,

“The buoyant, U-shaped barrier made of plastic and with a tapered 10-foot (3-meter) deep screen, is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in that gyre but allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it. Fitted with solar power lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the cleanup system will communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled.”

The boom will work unmanned, relying only on the natural current continually running like clockwork. This current creates gyres which are slow moving whirlpools that, according to Slat’s calculations, will enable the boom to gather trash using no fossil fuels or electricity to keep it running, just the currents.

Future Cleanup

If the boom proves itself, the plan is to keep it and a fleet of others (costing about $5.8 million each) in the ocean for the next two decades. First, it must undergo extremely harsh weather conditions along with constant corrosive salt and other unexpected obstacles.

With 9 million tons (8 million metric tons) of plastic waste entering the ocean annually, it is a project that those on land are applauding and raising eyebrows toward at the same time. Many are concerned it will stall the current plastic gathering and recycling already underway.

George Leonard, chief scientist of the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group comments on this highly ambitious project,

“We at the Ocean Conservancy are highly skeptical but we hope it works,...The ocean needs all the help it can get...[but]...If you don’t stop plastics from flowing into the ocean, it will be a Sisyphean task.”

Rolf Halden, a professor of environmental health engineering at Arizona State University agrees telling USA Today,

“If you allow the doors to be open during a sandstorm while you’re vacuuming, you won’t get very far.”

 

Either way, Boyan Slat and his team have taken the bold step of doing something on a grand scale. In conjunction with daily recycling on land, new non-toxic materials to replace plastic, and other Eco-friendly technological and financial support, it is the combined effort that will inevitably reverse the detrimental effects humans have had on this planet for way too long.


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Green Cleaning, Green Living, Politically Green, The Water We Drink and was tagged with Boylan Slat, CONSERVES WATER, GPGP, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, NON-TOXIC, ocean cleanup, Ocean Conservancy, plastic pollution, RECYCLED-UPCYCLED

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