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The Ocean Cleanup: How We Showed the Oceans Could Clean Themselves

Geschreven op 10-10-2015 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Afval, Duurzaam, Water
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The Ocean Clean UpThe Ocean Cleanup develops technologies to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to fuel the world’s fight against oceanic plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history.

About 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year. Part of this accumulates in 5 areas where currents converge: the gyres. At least 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are currently in the oceans, a third of which is concentrated in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This plastic pollution continues to do the following damage in the ages to come.

At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution. The survival of more then 100 species, including the Hawaiian Monk Seal and Loggerhead Turtle, could be jeopardized by plastic debris. Plastic pollution is furthermore a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems .

Globally, plastic pollution causes at least US $13 billion of damage each year to industries that include fishing, shipping, tourism and the cleaning of coastlines. The US West Coast spends approximately US $500 million each year to clean up their beaches. The costs of removing debris from beaches is on average US $1,500, and up to US $25,000 per ton.

Toxic chemicals (including PCBs and DDTs) are adsorbed by the plastic, increasing the concentration a million times. After entering the food chain, these persistent organic pollutants bio-accumulate in the food chain, resulting in an even higher concentration of pollutants inside fish, including ones consumed by humans. Health effects linked to these chemicals are: cancer, malformation and impaired reproductive ability. Source: The Ocean Cleanup

See also: TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch: Living a Sustainable Life by Ed Begley Jr – TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch: The Economic Injustice of Plastic by Van Jones – TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch: The Ocean is Connected to Everything by Dr. Sylvia Earle –TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch: Tackling Our Nature Deficiency Disorder by David deRotschild – Can We Save Our Oceans from Plastic and Remove the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by CNN Eco Solutions – A Plastic Ocean: The Request? Rethink Plastic

It had always been assumed that cleaning the oceans was impossible, due to the vastness of the areas in which plastic is concentrated. Using vessels and nets to collect the plastic from one garbage patch would take about 79,000 years and tens of billions of dollars. Besides, such an operation would cause significant harm to sea life and generate huge amounts of CO2 and other emissions.

Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? Instead of going after the plastic using boats and nets, The Ocean Cleanup will use long floating barriers, using the natural movement of the ocean currents to passively concentrate the plastic itself. Virtually all of the current flows underneath these booms, taking away all (neutrally buoyant) sea life, preventing by-catch, while the lighter-than-water plastic collects in front of the floating barrier.

The scalable array of floating barriers, attached to the seabed, is designed for large-magnitude deployment, covering millions of square kilometers without moving a centimeter. The Ocean Cleanup’s research into the feasibility of its concept indicates that using a single 100 km cleanup array, deployed for 10 years, will passively remove 42% of the great pacific garbage patch. We conservatively estimate this to be 70,320,000 kg. This (conservative estimate) would imply a cleanup cost of € 4,53 per kilo.

See also: Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Plastic Soup and Plastic Planet – Plastic Soep by Jesse Goossens Plastic Planet – Recycled Island: Cleaning our Oceans and Creating a Floating City – The Plastiki Expedition by David de Rothschild – The House of Plastic: Prefab Homes made of Plastic Garbage – From Oil to Plastic and from Plastic back to Oil: The Magic Box by Akinori Ito – The Throwaway Mentality and The 5 Oceanic Gyres – The Plastiki Expedition by David de Rothschild: On National Geographic Channel – Plastic Whale – EU-Commissaris Maria Damanaki Wil Op Plastic Gaan Vissen in de Middellandse Zee

3 Reacties

  1. Erik van Erne zegt:

    10 oktober 2015 om 10:46 | Permalink

    The 20-Year-Old Boyan Slat With a Plan to Rid the Sea of Plastic

  2. Erik van Erne zegt:

    12 mei 2017 om 12:17 | Permalink

    Deploying The Ocean Cleanup: Simulation

    The Ocean Cleanup aims to start extracting plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the first half of 2018.

    The main idea behind The Ocean Cleanup is to let the ocean currents do the work. An installation of Ushaped screens channels floating plastic to a central point. The concentrated plastic can then be extracted and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products. The passive systems is estimated to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.

  3. Erik van Erne zegt:

    15 mei 2017 om 12:22 | Permalink

    How we will rid the oceans of plastic by Boyan Slat

    On May 11th 2017, Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, announced a design breakthrough allowing for the cleanup of half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 5 years.

    The main idea behind The Ocean Cleanup is to let the ocean currents do the work. An installation of U-shaped screens channels floating plastic to a central point. The concentrated plastic can then be extracted and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products. The improvements involve the introduction of a mobile, or drifting system. Rather than fixing the floating screens to the seabed at great depths, The Ocean Cleanup will apply sea anchors to ensure the floating screens move slower than the plastic. Rather than one massive barrier, the improved, modular cleanup system consists of a fleet of screens.

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