20,000 Pounds of Trash Removed From Pacific Garbage Patch: ‘Holy mother of god. It worked!‘
By Andy Corbley, Good News Network, October 19, 2021
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch can now be cleaned,” announced Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, the wonderkid inventor who has spent a decade inventing systems for waterborne waste collection.
Recent tests made by tools invented to tackle the 1.8 trillion-piece pile of plastic pollution, called System 002, were a success, leading Slat to predict that most ocean garbage patches could be removed by 2040.
Intersections of ocean currents have the ability to create massive floating islands of plastic trash.
Five of them exist in these “gyres,” which are essentially massive slow-moving whirlpools that pull trash from thousands of miles around into a single radius.
The largest one sits between California and Hawaii, and is known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which consists of around 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish floating inside an area around 600,000 square miles.
System 002, nicknamed “Jenny” successfully netted 9,000 kilograms, or around 20,000 pounds in its first trial.
It’s carbon-neutral, able to capture microplastics as small as 1 millimeter in diameter, and designed to pose absolutely no threat to wildlife thanks to its wide capture area, slow motion, alerts, and camera monitors that allow operators to spy any overly-curious marine life.
Jenny consists of two boats dragging a very long net in a U-shape behind them.
They use computational modeling to predict where and at what speed the movements in the gyre will be shifting the plastic. They then fill up their net, pull it on board, and bring it ashore for recycling.
Slat estimates ten Jennies could clean half the garbage patch in five years, and if 10 Jennies were deployed to the five major ocean gyres, then 90% of all floating plastic could be removed by 2040.
There are obvious challenges, like the fact that millions of pieces of plastic flow into the oceans every year, and that investors may believe river cleanup is easier, cheaper, and doesn’t require the use of fossil fuels to power the boats.
Nevertheless—this is a huge breakthrough in the cleanup of ocean plastics, and one worth celebrating.