Designed by conservationist, a massive floating device has successfully collected trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Invented by 25 year-old Boyan Slat, Dutch inventor and engineer, the machine has a large line of cork floats holding a huge skirt that traps the garbage.
The Ocean Cleanup recently announced that the system was able to capture and hold trash, from visible plastic debris to large abandoned fishing gear, or “ghost nets”, and microplastics as small as 1 mm.
Our vessel (with cleanup system) now in transit to port for crew change; expect to be back in the patch for final leg of the System 001/B campaign around Oct 17. pic.twitter.com/P9rmxU136w
— Boyan Slat (@BoyanSlat) October 3, 2019
In a statement, Slat said:
“After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights.
Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.”
A few weeks ago, we caught up on deck with our mechanical engineer in the middle of the ongoing System 001/B campaign to get his first impression after a week testing in slow down configuration. pic.twitter.com/htpZtQQYqv
— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) September 2, 2019
The Ocean Cleanup Project’s high-tech System 001/B is fitted with a variety of devices such as solar-powered lights, sensors, cameras, and satellite antennae allow The Ocean Cleanup to track it via GPS and a dedicated support vessel for collection and returning the trapped plastic to dry land every few months.
In case you missed it, here is a short recap of our announcement today. pic.twitter.com/bGhrkty5W6
— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) October 2, 2019
System 001/B mimics a coastline and uses the ocean’s force and wind to trap the immeasurable pieces of plastic garbage churning around in the patch.
According to marine biologists tracking the system, it’s had no adverse environmental impact and marine life can safely swim around the gigantic boom.
In a tweet, Slat said that the system, now in transit to port for a crew change will resume collecting garbage on October 17.
In 1997, ocean researcher Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now grown to be the largest accumulation zone of plastic in the world’s oceans. Years later, he told CBS News that plastics are a leading cause of environmental devastation across the world, adding:
Humanity’s plastic footprint is probably more dangerous than its carbon footprint.”
Nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. pic.twitter.com/p2iYjP1bId
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) October 2, 2019
Experts and conservationists have sounded the alarm over growing plastic pollution strangling the world’s oceans and water supplies while leaching carcinogenic toxins and chemicals into the marine environment, ultimately killing marine wildlife such as birds and fish.
An estimated 100 million tons of plastic trash is now found in the world’s oceans, according to the UN, with devastating effects on the tourism and fishing industry as well as affecting the natural food chain. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of plastic waste in the ocean comes from land-based sources and according to a report prepared for the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it is estimated that at this rate, plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh all fish by 2050.
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