You, Me, the Big Blue Sea (and Plastic)

battleface looks at the work of The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organisation founded by Boyan Slat that aims to clear 90% of all floating plastic from the oceans.

How does he plan to tackle such a big job? Take a look:

The Problem

Millions of tonnes of plastic are in our ocean systems, and more is being added every year. Some of this plastic collects in huge floating garbage patches caught in powerful circulating currents that continually add more plastic day after day. If nothing is done then this plastic waste will pollute our ecosystems impacting marine life, ocean health, the economies of coastal communities and all who live on or near the sea.

All images ©The Ocean Cleanup

The Challenge

The strategy that The Ocean Cleanup are taking to rid the world’s ocean of plastic is twofold: they aim to remove it from the rivers and waterways that flow into seas and remove the legacy debris already in the oceans.

From Streets to Creeks to Rivers to Oceans

The vast majority of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans originates from rivers with most of it staying afloat only for a brief period.

Plastic pollution on beach. Dominican Republic – ©The Ocean Cleanup

Plastic trash sinks to the ocean floor and can end up entering the sediment or washing back and up onto the coastline. What is left finds its way into the open ocean and generally stays there for a very long time.

The Interceptor

Designed and developed by The Ocean Cleanup, The Interceptor is a scalable solution to prevent plastic waste in rivers from entering the ocean. The autonomous vessels navigate rivers to where pollution problems are worst and scoops up plastic waste into a barge for sorting and recycling.

Interceptor – All images ©The Ocean Cleanup

Cleaning Up The Garbage Patches – The Ocean Cleanup estimate that over 5 trillion pieces of plastic are currently in the oceans

All images ©The Ocean Cleanup

To clean an ocean of a huge problem, a HUGE solution is needed so The Ocean Cleanup created an artificial coastline comprised of a long U-shaped barrier that guides floating plastic into a retention zone where it can be collected and removed for sorting and recycling back on land.

The 3rd generation of this system will soon be put into action, building on the 450,000kgs of waste that has already been removed.

All images ©The Ocean Cleanup

The Largest Cleanup in History

All images ©The Ocean Cleanup

A global problem requires a global initiative which is what The Ocean Cleanup focus on in their endeavour to clean our rivers and oceans. Supported and funded by individuals, companies and governments, The Ocean Cleanup is the first real, working plan that is making a difference to reduce the impact of plastic waste in our seas.

All images and videos ©The Ocean Cleanup

Follow The Ocean Cleanup on Twitter

Previous articleFeel the Burn – Getting tanned this Summer
Next article5 top-rated apps to bring on your next trip
Avatar photo
An avid international traveller, surfer, lover of the oceans, writer and researcher. Specialising in green travel and tourism.