This coming May, the Ocean Cleanup is ready to deploy their first fully operational Ocean Cleanup system in the Great Pacific Ocean. The system has been developed over five years of research and development by Boyan Slat and his team at The Ocean Cleanup, and intends to gather massive amounts of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
An estimated 6 to 8 billion metric tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Scientists within the field of marine studies estimate that at least 100,000 sea mammals and millions of sea birds and fish die each year from plastic ingestion or entanglement.
The everlasting spillage of waste affects all parts of the ocean. For example, the Arctic is one of the most pristine and untouched areas in our world, and new measures have been taken to protect the environments like this. In the arena of environmental protection, liberal governments and projects like The Ocean Cleanup are inspiring us to attain a deeper understanding about our ecological footprint.
Plastic disintegrates faster in the ocean than on land because the influence of salt water and the Sun’s UV-rays. Tragically, small bits of plastic of 5mm or less cannot be gathered by the Ocean Cleanup system. This percentage will increase exponentially if no action is taken. What’s more, plastic decomposition causes additional pollution as it it releases harmful toxic bisphenol A and PS oligomer into water.
Water bodies are susceptible to any kind of change. Whenever massive operations interfere with the stable state of nature, consequences can be expected. Therefore, it is key that proper research is carried out before large scale marine operating systems are deployed.
The ramifications of plastic waste and water pollution are out of control. To gain a grip on the problem and create a sustainable ecological footprint, we will have to come up with alternative solution for plastic packaging. Asia seems to struggle the hardest when it comes to recycling their plastics, as an estimated 86% of all plastic waste can be contributed to the continent.
In order to develop sustainable lifestyles we are expected to purchase products that curb our energy consumption and energy spillage. Rather than having powerful fossil fuelled generators we will use natural resources to power our homes.
The team at GreenMatch created this infographic below to illustrate the process of The Ocean Cleanup’s efforts and prognoses.