27 APRIL 2021
The Ocean CleanUp To Remove Plastic Contamination From Oceans And River
Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor, The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization aiming to reduce the plastic contaminating the oceans.
Images © The Ocean CleanUp
Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is one of the biggest environmental of our time, affecting more than 600 marine species. Ocean CleanUp had conducted a study in collaboration with Deolitte, which estimated the yearly economic costs due to marine plastic pollution to be between $6-19bn USD. These costs arise from the plastic’s impact on tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and (governmental) cleanups.
The Ocean CleanUp initiative aims to reduce 90% of the plastic pollution in the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup’s first plastic was caught in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during their System 001/B campaign in 2019. System 001/B was intended to be a test system, with components that were easily modified offshore. This allowed the team to see which configuration created a sufficient relative speed difference between the system and the plastic.
The plastic collected from this campaign was returned to the shore, wit the first plastic catch tagged, logged and sealed in containers, so that the plastic can be traced right from the start. This means the plastic, once recycled, and made into useful products, can still be traced back and verified to ensure it comes from the ocean. Once onshore, the plastic gets sorted based on the type of polymer. The sorted plastics then get recycled separately.
The first product that they produces, sunglasses, were made using ‘ghost nets’, nets that have been discarded in the ocean, and has been exposed to the forces of the ocean. The plastic of these nets, where better suited for the sunglasses. Products meet the regulatory requirements and are also checked for contaminants to ensure it meets the safety standards for sunglasses. Even the boxing of the products is designed using recycled materials.
Find out more about their systems and how The Ocean CleanUp is changing the oceans for the better, on The Ocean CleanUp’s website.