What is The Ocean Cleanup?
The Ocean Cleanup is to date the largest cleanup campaign to rid the Ocean of Plastic that is accumulating through several drifting systems that use ocean currents that eventually trap the floating plastic in large boomerang shape floating patches. This specific cleanup is taking place in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and expects to cleanup 50% of the plastic in this Patch in just FIVE years.
How much Plastic is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
The campaign set out to conduct the largest ocean research expedition with 30 vessels towing 652 surface nets at the same time to determine how much plastic is in the patch, the sizes of plastics in the area and how deep the ocean needs to be cleaned. After finding most of the plastic were large pieces, they then conducted the first aerial scan of an ocean Garbage Patch. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du5d5PUrH0I, 8:00, 2017).
“A total of 1.8 trillion plastic pieces wereestimated to be floating in the patch – a plastic count that is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for every human in the world”
(The Ocean Cleanup, p.1, 20).
How do these systems catch plastic?
The answer is simple!
By “Acting like the Plastic”
These systems are free to rotate with the current, and move slower than the plastic in the ocean using a parachute like anchor, allowing the plastic to bump into the cleanup system and stay trapped in its “U” shape as it follows the direction of where the plastic is coming from. Instead of one large Cleanup system, the campaign has broken down the process into a “fleet” of smaller cleanup systems working together to rid the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of plastic.
After several weeks, the debris in the system gets collected by a support vessel and is returned to land for recycling. “The plan is to now scale up the device and make it more durable so it can retain plastic for up to a year or possibly longer before collection is necessary” (Boffey, p.1, 2019).
According to The Ocean Cleanup campaign’s research, if we do NOT clean up plastic in the ocean, the density of the plastic will continue to grow past the size of California by the year 2030.
If the Ocean Cleanup campaign succeeds, by 2030 the end result will be a significant difference as we will be able to clean “50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just FIVE years’ time” (YouTube, 23:00, 2017).
We must act on this crisis right now, as over time, plastic breaks down into smaller fragments and is mistaken as food by marine life. This is a severe choking hazard, as well as entanglement in nets and other littered products.
Aqua Ultraviolet devotes time to discussing and researching these types of issues because we care about our Planet Earth and voiding our Oceans of plastic. We are the leading manufacturer in water sterilization for aquatic tanks, ponds, and even households. Our UV sterilizers can be added to your home or business with ease and comes with peace of mind when it comes to the water you utilize. Take a look at our life plus systems to upgrade your drinking water.
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Sources and further readings:
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Boffey, Ocean Cleanup Device Successfully Collects Plastic For First Time, 2019
The Ocean Cleanup Successfully Catches Plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2019
Oakes, The Search For a Cleaner, Greener Plastic, 2019
Slat, The Ocean Cleanup, 2017