Future Earth

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup

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Goal – To rid the oceans of plastic

The Ocean Cleanup is developing world’s first feasible method to rid the oceans of plastic. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history.

Founded in 2013 by then 19 year old Dutch teenager Boyan Slat this is truly a unique approach to a sustainable environmental solution for the future of our delicate planet.

The plastic pollution problem

  • Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans (UNEP 2005)
  • Plastic concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres (Maximenko et al., 2012)
  • In these gyres there is on average six times more plastic than zooplankton by dry weight (Moore et al., 2001)

The Technology

Instead of going after the plastic using boats and nets, The Ocean Cleanup envisions a network of long floating barriers, which would allow the ocean currents to passively gather the plastic. Once the plastic is concentrated at a central point, it can be collected for recycling. Recycling that could generate in excess of $500 million per year, making this not only an environmental initiative, but also a profitable one too.

This is a different approach to clean up, previously using net technology which causes hazards for marine life along with additional engineering shortcomings. This  new approach takes into consideration the moving nature of both the oceans surface and the currents to work for the process versus against it like other technologies have encountered.

Ocean Cleanup Technology

The evolution of the concept will move towards incorporating the recycling component in a refined housing as shown in the images below, allowing the plastic to be channelled directly into the recycling  ‘plant’ itself, for later retrieval by a vessel to return to the mainland.

Ocean Cleanup

Ocean Clean-up Array

Full deployment by 2020 of the system over significant distances (100km long) in key areas around the globe – helping to rid the ocean of 42% of plastic debris within 10 years!

Here’s looking forward to a cleaner ocean for our future generations.

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