The World’s Biggest Ocean Cleanup Has Officially Started

Our planet is drowning in plastic, and it is about time that we do something about it. Believe us, every effort counts!

Fortunately, this awareness has become real and volunteers are starting to clean up the beaches and in this effort several companies joined their forces.

The Truth about Plastic

Plastic pollutes the oceans and kills marine life as a result of which many species are at the verge of extinction.

Here are some terrifying facts:

  • Over 8 million tons of plastic end up in oceans
  • More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually
  • 500 billion plastic bags are being used every year or 1 million bags every minute
  • The massive production of plastic continues and in the last decade we have produced more plastic than in the past 100 years
  • Sadly, but true, a large portion of the plastic items are for single-use and we need it only for few seconds, but nature needs to decompose for hundreds of years
  • On package products falls 40% of all plastic
  • 33% of marine life dies stuck in plastic
  • More than 90% of all seabirds have pieces of plastic in their stomach

All this plastic accumulates in the center of the ocean where various waters meat thus creating a swirling vortex. In this way they are creating a patch that does not reach the shores, and it can’t be cleaned up. This patch is known as:

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

It is called the Pacific patch as it is located between California and Hawaii, and it was first discovered in the mid-1980s.

This patch is not something small that we can easily clean up; it is more of an island of plastic having double the size of Texas or more specifically 1.6 million square kilometers. The patch weighs about 80,000 tons or 500 Jumbo Jets.

The experts in the Ocean Cleanup detected over 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in this area which is a mid-range estimate as the real figure could be up to 3.6 trillion.

The Floating Boom System

The Ocean Cleanup is an organization that has a goal to clean up oceans as the planet needs them thereby creating a huge project for this sole purpose. This company uses advanced technology based on a floating boom system which was initially deployed from San Francisco Bay. The use of this technology can help in cleaning up half of the patch every five years.

This company was founded by the Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, 18, in 2013 that had a set goal to clean up the oceans. This system is based on dozens of floating booms that trap plastic and bring it to the shore having the capacity to capture 150,000 pounds of plastic per boom on yearly basis.

This breakthrough boom system was released last October in an area that is near 1,400 miles to the patch. It started the cleaning process so that the booms drift along with the currents in a U-shape. The idea of releasing the system along with the currents makes the cleanup process more efficient and easier.

It functions by installing a net of 10-feet below each boom which sole purpose is to collect small bits of plastics. When the boom becomes filled up, a fleet comes out to the boom and transports the plastic to shores. If you wonder about the marine life, fish can easily pass the net as it is placed sufficiently low.

Although there are rumors that the company will shut down its efforts to clean up the seas and oceans, they are not true, and in order to prove it this company posts updates of its success. What is true is that one of the booms broke down, but it is being fixed and very soon will be again released in the ocean.

The plastic that has been collected from the ocean will get recycled and reused for the production of other products like car parts, chairs, sunglasses, high-quality phones, and many more.

Sources:
forbes.com

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