“The Ocean Cleanup” Has Successfully Removed 20,000lbs Of Plastic From The Pacific Ocean

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans and there are currently 5 trillion plastic pieces littering the ocean. Aiming to eliminate the oceans of all plastic garbage, Netherlands-based Boyan Slat established The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization that focuses on developing and scaling technologies to clean the water. With its ambitious goal to remove 90% of floating plastic on oceans by 2040, the organization has developed a method to achieve its goal. By using lengthy floating structures to skim debris from the water surface, the company figured out a way to use the ocean current to their advantage. For 18 years, the company has been utilizing this method to collect and haul tons of floating plastics from the oceans.

After its successful pilot testing in Japan, The Ocean Cleanup has been eyeing to use this cleaning method on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Located between Hawaii and California, this specific gyre is a vortex of circulating currents where trash usually accumulate. Hence, majority of the plastic pieces end up in these ocean garbage patches. The organization developed its latest system iteration, the System 002 which is also named Jenny, for that momentous task. Compared to its previous systems, Jenny features bigger and stronger barrier to pick up larger amount of trash from the surface. It is specifically engineered to operate at slow speeds fora more thorough cleaning, making sure no single piece of plastic is left floating in the area.

 

The Ocean Cleanup Launches Its New System Iteration, Jenny

 

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When The Ocean Cleanup put Jenny to the test on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it impressively gathered an astounding 20,000 pounds of plastic. The system then hauled the garbage aboard the ship to empty the net. The 20,000 pounds of plastic is then sorted and recycled by the team. If Jenny can effectively remove these vast quantities, Slat estimates that they can eliminate up to 50% of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years by deploying 10 Jennys in the area.

 

Jenny’s First Deployment in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

 

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But just like any other innovative solutions, Jenny isn’t a perfect system and still requires further improvements. While the barrier efficiently picks up floating plastic on the surface, it is unable to pick up pieces and microplastics that are lodging deeper into the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup is also looking to offset the emissions of the boat by using carbon credits. Despite the system’s shortcomings, its proven capability of reducing floating plastic can be a huge step toward our ultimate goal of saving our oceans from plastic pollution.

 

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