Ocean cleanup update – its prototype works!

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while you will remember I have in the past talked about the ocean cleanup.

In simple terms the ocean cleanup is a group whose aim is to remove the plastic from the world’s oceans. The majority of this plastic is caught in relatively small parts of the ocean compared to it’s full size. Because the ocean currents carry these plastics to these small areas, it is a simpler job that is otherwise might be (though still huge).

Over the last few years the team has developed and launched a test device for capturing the plastics from the ocean, consisting of a large curved beam with a skirt underneath it. Indeed last year it was demonstrated that the device was catching plastic but because the device was moving at the same speed as the ocean these plastic particles for simply floating out again. 

They relaunched their device recently with an added underwater parachute that slowed it down, a ship went out recently to check on the system and found that it was finally working effectively. 

There is still obviously an astounding amount to do, but it is clear that they now have a method for removing the plastics from the open oceans. They are now interested in scaling up the design to four or more times larger, and once they have demonstrated this in action they would be able to put more of these contractions out into the sea.

Obviously they will need to make several hundred of these devices to remove all the plastic from the world’s oceans, as well as hopefully being able to fulfil their plans of upcycling the plastic,  they catch and enough people being willing to buy their products to be able to pay for all the work.

Combined with their more recent plans of river interceptors, it looks like their far more ambitious goal of removing more than 90% of the world’s plastics in the next couple of decades look likely to be fulfilled.

It should be noted that this is not only good for the Natural World; microplastics that are eaten by fish in the sea inevitable end up working their way up the food chain and being found in humans as well.

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