Can you even imagine 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic? 80,000 tons of it plus fishing line and other assorted trash? In a watery scrapheap twice the size of Texas?
It’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California that has long been a cause of great environmental concern for the ongoing viability of marine life.
Now, a not-for-profit company named The Ocean Cleanup, founded by its CEO, 23-year-old Boyan Slat of The Netherlands, will soon launch its technology into the Pacific with the goal of reducing the patch by 50% within five years.
The technology was extensively tested using a 200-foot long pipe with a hanging skirt that drifts with the tide. Solar-powered, it is self-directed and finds optimum pick-up sites using an algorithm.
According to The Ocean Cleanup, “On September 8th, 2018, the 600 meter long Array 001 (note: 600 meters is just shy of 2,000 feet) will make its way out from Alameda, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and out into the Pacific ocean.”
As there never seems to be a solution without critics, many conservationists prefer effort to be expended in reducing ocean waste rather than cleaning it up. Others have expressed concern that it will entrap marine life.
The Ocean Cleanup responds by saying the pipe and its skirt are passive, moving very slowly with the tide, allowing plenty of time for marine life to escape under its skirt. They are in agreement that their goal of ridding earth’s oceans of plastics by 2050 will require a joint effort of both clean up as well as source reduction.
You can see the technology for yourself in the video or by logging onto https://www.theoceancleanup.com/
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PHOTO: Ocean Cleanup
By Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C strong> President, Metropolitan Valuation Services