The Ocean Cleanup Mission

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Original Source : The Ocean Cleanup

OCEAN GARBAGE PATCHES

Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s "ocean garbage patches". Once in these patches, the plastic will not go away by itself. The challenge of cleaning up the gyres is the plastic pollution spreads across millions of square kilometers and travels in all directions. Covering this area using vessels and nets would take thousands of years and cost billions of dollars to complete. How can we use these ocean currents to our advantage?

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF NATURAL OCEANIC FORCES

The Ocean Cleanup is developing a passive system, using the natural oceanic forces to catch and concentrate the plastic. Both the plastic and system are being carried by the current.

However, wind and waves propel only the system, as the floater sits just above the water surface, while the plastic is primarily just beneath it. The system thus moves faster than the plastic, allowing the plastic to be captured.

THE IMPACT OF CLEANUP

Our models indicate that a full-scale system roll-out could clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.

Research shows the majority of plastic by mass is currently in the larger debris. By removing the plastic while most of it is still large, we prevent it from breaking down into dangerous microplastics.

Combining the cleanup with source reduction on land paves the road towards a plastic free ocean by 2050.

 

Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup here