Ocean Cleanup on War Path to End Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While we all bicker and play the blame game, The Ocean Cleanup has taken it upon itself to end the plastic debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With an intricate system of giant trash-collecting barriers, the organization has been sweeping through the garbage patch to remove plastic waste from oceans. After putting System 03 in place, The Ocean Cleanup aims to deploy ten systems in the patch to make a serious dent in the problem.

After unveiling the idea in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup team developed and tested various configurations of trash-collecting barriers. Earlier, the organization used the System 002 barrier to clean the patch, and now it is in the middle of transitioning to a much larger System 03.

The Ocean Cleanup - System 03 vs System 002

Image: The Ocean Cleanup

The new system has 8,200-feet-long C-shaped barriers that will be dragged by boats, using a 13-feet-deep skirt to direct plastic waste from the surface into a collection cavity.  The team uses computational modeling to map the hotspots where their cleaning systems should focus.

The Ocean Cleanup - System 03

Image: The Ocean Cleanup

After putting the system in place, the C-shaped barrier produces circulating currents that help the plastic and other debris to move toward the retention zone. Once the system is full, the net is closed off and detached from the system. Then, the collected garbage is hauled onto transport vessels and taken back to the coast for recycling. Then, the process is repeated.

The Ocean Cleanup System 03

Image: The Ocean Cleanup

According to the organization, the larger system will make the cleanup process more efficient and economical. It has a lower cost per kilogram of plastic waste removed from the oceans. The latest estimates by The Ocean Cleanup reveal that 10 barricades based on the System 03 design would be sufficient to clean up the 100,000 tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch entirely.

The Ocean Cleanup System 03_1

Image: The Ocean Cleanup

The organization works on the motto of “Catch, rinse, recycle and repeat – until the oceans are clean.” It aims to create floating systems that are specifically designed to catch and remove plastics ranging from small pieces, as tiny as plastic flecks, to large debris, including fishing nets.

The organization has revealed its function and future plans in a demonstrative video. It artfully depicts the magnitude of the problem and the way The Ocean Cleanup aims to solve it.

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