The Ocean Cleanup

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200127+038+Maritime+Museum+of+San+Diego+-+Pilot+boat+cruise+of+San+Diego+Bay%2C+Maersk+Transporter+Ocean+Cleanup+Vessel%2C+designed+to+remove+floating+plastic+waste+from+the+ocean+by+cultivar413+is+licensed+under+CC+BY+2.0

“200127 038 Maritime Museum of San Diego – Pilot boat cruise of San Diego Bay, Maersk Transporter Ocean Cleanup Vessel, designed to remove floating plastic waste from the ocean” by cultivar413 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cleaning the Garbage Patches

The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization started by Boyan Slat. His dream is to clean the oceans of plastic. He and his team designed a system to clean the five ocean garbage patches starting with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They designed a system with a very long buoy that floats at the top of the water and a large net hanging down from it. The buoy allows the whole system to move with the current and the net catches plastic and trash under the surface. Because the ocean is such a large area to cover this system does not require anything to power it except for the wind and waves. An anchor slows down the system so that the trash can be picked up by boats. The whole thing naturally forms in a U shape and concentrates on the larger parts of the garbage patch.

So What Happens To This Trash?

The Ocean Cleanup is using this plastic to create 100% recycled plastic products. So far they have created sunglasses that are just the first of many products to help the organization. Each pair can give The Cleanup enough money to clean 24 football fields of ocean. And yes, the sunglasses are perfectly recyclable when they have been used to their fullest extent.

Ok, So Is This Legit and Actually Helping The Planet?

Well this is a non-profit organization so all of the money they get for the sunglasses goes back into cleaning the ocean. This is one of the first useful passive ways to clean the ocean in a massive way. Although there are smaller plastics that the system doesn’t pick up, boats called Interceptors are being put at rivers to intercept the trash from entering the ocean. So this is an amazing start to what could be a huge step in cleaning our oceans.

Related Stories:

https://www.engineering.com/story/cleaning-up-the-plastics-mess-what-role-do-engineers-play

https://theoceancleanup.com/