The Pacific Ocean has had an issue with literally tons of plastic being dumped into its waters. The waste has been a topic of discussion for years now but one project is trying to actively fix the issue on a macro scale.
The plan is named simply Ocean Cleanup according to Science News, and it’s rather simple — a giant net-like system is put in the floating waste. The net would operate by simulating a free-floating coastline. This would then make the plastic eventually flow into piles alone the fake coastline. After that, designated people can simply go pick up the plastic that’s in a giant pile.
The size of the device is six-hundred meters and comes fitted with a three-meter underwater net. It also travels naturally with the winds and currents which would also turn it into a U-like symbol that makes objects flow into easy collection piles. It even has solar-powered lights, anti-collision systems, and satellite antennas. The antennas would help the device keep away from boats and allow scientists to track its movement.
The project believes that they can remove ninety percent of the plastic in the great Pacific garbage patch by the year 2040. That’s a pretty big statement considering the patch is 1.6 million square kilometers large and contains around 1.8 trillion pieces of debris. Although the debris is not very large as most people seem to think, the size of the floating debris is actually quite small and range from half a centimeter to around five. However, those are just estimates since the patch is so large it can’t be consistently determined.
The project seems to be aiming at targeting large bits of plastic since the net can’t catch everything. This means that the super tiny pieces would likely be targeted later on.
Ocean Cleanup is based in Delft, the Netherlands. The idea that it’s now carrying out was first proposed in a 2012 TED Talk by Boyan Slat.
The system is going to be first tested for two weeks off the coast of California. This is a good idea since the ocean tends to have the ability to tear pretty much anything down, so, the tests would likely include durability and sustainability.
Marine life is also a concern, the net could cause some animals like turtles to get stuck in it and die. Although the entire marine life cost is not known as of yet since the project is not completely underway.