According to an estimate by scientists; there’s about 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. Talk about damaging the environment, Eco systems and expediting the process of climate change! Anyway, considering the huge amount of trash, you’d expect almost no undertaking about ridding the oceans of trash, right? Well, say hello to Ocean Cleanup Project – a project that believes in its capability of cleaning up the oceans by employing methods that are cheap and environment-friendly.
The Ocean Cleanup Project has recently announced that it will be carrying out a real-world demonstration (test) of its collection barriers off the coast of the Netherlands. The project was created by a Dutch Entrepreneur Boyan Slat. He came up with the idea back in Delft University while studying aerospace engineering. His idea is very simplistic; instead of going after all the plastic, have it come to you by making use of ocean’s natural gyres or rotating currents.
What’s the benefit of such a simple and brilliant approach? By making use of nature’s system of circular ocean currents the plastic waste would be directed into lengthy floating arms and from there to a central collection point – the whole process is extremely energy efficient. In fact, he has claimed that by employing this approach, the time required to clean up the oceans would drop from a millennia to only a few years. A successful feasible study along with a crowdfunding success of $2.1 million has provided him the motivation and push to implement his plan and bring it from a conceptual phase to real world.
The very first open water testing of the floating barriers has been scheduled for the second quarter of 2016. It will take place in the North Sea, 23 km off the coast of Netherlands. The installation will be 100m long and has been designed using computer modelling and scale model testing that was carried out in controlled environments. The team is confident that it is time to put this contraption to work in the real oceanic conditions.
The team will be paying special attention to the waves and currents and their effects by making use of cameras and sensors for monitoring the motion of barrier and the load that system will be subjected to. It is being hoped that the test will allow the team to better plan and execute a bigger pilot project that is slated to take place in Korea Strait.
This next pilot will feature a barrier stretch of 2,000 meters off the Coast of Tsushima Island between South Korea and Japan. This area is facing plastic pollution as a highly pressing matter. These tests and the subsequent installations will help the Ocean Cleanup move towards its big goal of installing a large-scale system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020. Spread the word by sharing this article and help bring awareness that the world needs saving!