The Ocean Cleanup, a foundation based in The Netherlands that is dedicated to developing advanced technology to extract plastic pollution from the oceans and has presented today the first results from their air expedition over the Great Pacific garbage patch, the plastic debris accumulation area located between Hawaii and California.
Using a modified C-130 “Hercules” airplane and experimental plastic scanning equipment, they studied the biggest floating debris island in existence to get accurate measures of the biggest and deadliest floating garbage deposit at sea. This study constitutes an essential milestone in the preparations for cleaning that area, which is scheduled to begin by the end of this decade.
This was the first aerial expedition around this gigantic floating island of plastic, and it confirmed the worst fear about it: the abundance of plastic debris of sizes 0.5 meters (1.5 inches) and bigger.
In order to develop effective technology for the cleanup, it is essential to understand the problem, especially the sizes of individual objects and of the plastic accumulation as a whole. The nature and quantity of the objects will determine the design of cleanup systems, the logistics for transporting the plastic back to the coast, the methods used for recycling it, and the total cost of the operation.
This attempt to find an answer to question began during the “Mega Expedition” in August 2015. At that time, a fleet of The Ocean Cleanup sailed through the area, taking numerous samples of plastic debris.
The results confirmed the inevitable: the contamination levels in that area of the Pacific Ocean is far worse than expected. Boyan Slat, the CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup, said: “The initial findings of the expeditions again underline the urgency to tackle the growing accumulation of plastic in the world’s oceans.”
At Sea2See Foundation, we want to make a call for help because we believe that it is only through the combinet effort of us all that we can change this alarming situation. It is time to act!