For any of you that have attended conferences on plastics recycling over the last few years, I’m certain you have noticed the presentations on the issue of plastics in our oceans…oftentimes accompanied by some very sobering slide shows showing the debri and its devastation on wildlife.
Now, what is certainly the world’s first ocean cleaning-system, is fast approaching its deployment. Invented by Boyan Slat, the 20-year old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, this system involves a static platform that passively corrals plastics as wind and ocean current push debris through 2000-meter booms.
Says Slat, “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.”
Plans for the array’s deployment is currently for second quarter of 2016. The feasibility of deployment, off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South Korea is currently being researched.
The system will span 2000 meters, which will make it the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean—beating the current record of 1000 meters held by the Tokyo Mega-Float airplane runway. It will be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of the proposed Tsushima Island deployment location. Tsushima Island is evaluating whether the plastic can be used as an alternative energy source.
This initial deployment will represent an important milestone in The Ocean Cleanup’s mission to remove plastic pollution from the world’s oceans. Within five years, after a series of deployments of increasing scale, The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy a 100km-long system to clean up about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.
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