THE OCEAN CLEANUP
I don't use the word abomination often - but this is an abomination.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area the size of Queensland - created in the gyre of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone. It is thought that, like other areas of concentrated marine debris in the world's oceans, the Great Pacific garbage patch formed gradually as a result of marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents. There is approximately one million tonnes of plastic in this patch alone.
These patches are concentrated in all five gyres.
The consequences of this can be seen daily - recently there has been countless Sperm whales washed ashore, many of which the cause of death was determined to be as a result of the oceans pollution.
In March of last year, a 10-metre-long dead sperm whale that washed up on Spain’s South Coast had swallowed 59 different plastic items amounting to a total of 17 kilograms. Most of it consisted of thick transparent sheeting used to build greenhouses in Almeria and Grenada for growing tomatoes and other vegetables for the European market. The rest consisted of plastic bags, nine meters of rope, two stretches of hosepipe, two small flowerpots, and a plastic spray canister. The plastic interfered with the animal’s food intake and eventually blocked the digestive system leading to its death. This was not an isolated incident.
- At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution (Laist, 1997)
- Lantern fish in the North Pacific Gyre eat up to 24,000 tons plastics per year (Davidson & Asch, 2011)
- The survival of many species, including the Hawaiian Monk Seal and Loggerhead Turtle, could be jeopardized by plastic debris (Derraik, 2002)
- Plastic pollution is a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems (Barnes, 2005)
- Toxic chemicals (including PCBs and DDTs) are adsorbed by the plastic, increasing the concentration a million times (Mato et al., 2001)
- After entering the food chain, these persistent organic pollutants bioaccumulate in the food chain (Tanaka et al., 2013)
- Health effects linked to these chemicals are: cancer, malformation and impaired reproductive ability (Takada, oceanhealthindex.org)
Boyan Slat developed a technology to clean up the worlds oceans. Most of the concepts that have been proposed to clean up the ocean, most of which have proved unsuccessful. This is taking into account the exorbitant cost and the insane devastation that would occur if we were "fishing" for plastic.
The Ocean Cleanup proposed a "passive collection" of plastic - attaching an array of floating barriers and platforms to the sea bed enables us to concentrate the plastic before extracting it from the ocean —a collection process 100% driven by the natural winds and currents.
Instead of nets, the use of solid floating barriers, making entanglement of wildlife impossible. Virtually all of the current flows underneath these booms, taking away all (neutrally buoyant) organisms, and preventing by-catch, while the lighter-than-water plastic collects in front of the floating barrier.
The scalable array of moorings and booms is designed for large-magnitude deployment, covering millions of square kilometers.
Thanks to its projected high capture and field efficiency, a single gyre can be covered in just 5 years (or longer, depending on the chosen deployment strategy).
This amazing amazing amazing project is still in crowd-sourcing stage. But it is so so so valuable. I've donated, and have suggested all my friends donate. This is the future.
Head to the website here and help fund this.