Project update: Ocean Cleanup has announced a major breakthrough on the project, at a conference its CEO gave in Werkspoorkathedraal. There he revealed interesting changes to the design, which will allow the system to be more durable and pick up more plastic. In the old design it was estimated that it could clean 42% of the great Pacific garbage patch in 10 years, now with the new design, they will be able to remove up to 50% of the plastic in just five years. The rollout will begin in the next 12 months, two years earlier than expected.
In the new design, the system will move slower than plastic, but can now drift with ocean currents. In the previous design it was anchored to the bottom, now it is free to rotate and orient itself just as the plastic itself does.
The project will now implement a smaller array fleet rather than a massive system. It will be easier to finance; Although the total project is still a great investment, now you can work with smaller systems little by little.
An estimated 300 million tons of plastic are produced and disposed of each year. Considering it is not a material that degrades easily over time, it is very bad news for the environments in which it accumulates. For example, an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans today, threatening marine organisms that can accidentally ingest or latch onto each other. But do not be naive, it not only affects marine life, in the end all that pollution ends up affecting humans:
Cleaning and collecting all that plastic seems a gigantic and expensive task, titanic I would say, but a young man of 20 years thinks he has a solution.
Boyan Slat is founder and CEO of “The Ocean Cleanup”, an organization that will deploy next year the first system to safely remove plastic waste from the oceans.
The structure he has designed will float, dampened by currents throughout the oceans, and will be a kind of trap for plastics and other debris, which will then be collected via a conveyor belt. Over more than 2 km, this system will be the longest floating structure in the ocean. They plan to deploy the floating structure off the coast of Japan in early 2016, and it is expected to be in operation for at least two years in a test phase.
The ocean litter problem is one of the greatest environmental challenges humanity faces today. This project will allow us to study the efficiency of the system and its durability over time.
But this is not the first or only major ocean clean-up company. The Mega Expedition, an initiative to create a high-resolution plastic map of the Pacific Ocean, will be launched at the end of August this year. Departing from a port in Hawaii, 50 vessels will be deployed across a vast area between Hawaii and California, covering some 3,500,000 km2 to “collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the last 40 years. together.
On the project page you can make donations to finance it. We have already done ours.
The project is already in the testing phase and Boyan Slat is confident that his idea will be working at full capacity by 2020.