World’s First Ocean Plastic Cleaner To Take On Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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The first-ever device to clean plastic and rubbish from the ocean is officially ready to start a big clean-up operation.

It is heading to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which lies half way between California and Hawaii.

Launched by The Ocean Cleanup, the contraption will collect the ‘1.8 trillion pieces of plastic rubbish amassed there by ocean currents’.

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The Ocean Cleanup’s website reads:

It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. More than half of this plastic is less dense than the water, meaning that it will not sink once it encounters the sea.

The mass of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) was estimated to be approximately 80,000 tonnes , which is four to 16 times more than previous calculations. This weight is also equivalent to that of 500 Jumbo Jets.

The company’s system uses a combination of large floating nets which are then held in place by giant tubes which suck waste from waters.

This waste will then be transferred to large ships and taken to shore for recycling, according to the Ocean Cleanup.

The Ocean Cleanup

Fish can escape the nets (or screens as they’re referred to) by passing underneath.

Last year a device created by two Australian surfers, Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, was launched in the UK.

The pair spent years developing their solution to cleaner seas and oceans, and in October last year, Portsmouth harbour became the first in Britain to install one of their Seabins.

The amazing piece of environmentally-friendly tech has the capacity to hold up to 1.5kg of junk and sea pollutants a day, with a full capacity of  12kg and the ability to collect the equivalent of 20,000 bottles or 83,000 bags every year.

See the Seabin in action here:

The Seabin is able to collect floating debris, as small as 2mm, which has gathered on the surface of waters in harbours and ports, and can suck in oil to protect the marine life that lives on our coast.

It works by creating a flow of water passing into the bin and bringing with it, all the floating rubbish and debris, which is then caught in the bag and the clean water redistributed into the marina.

Pete and Andrew hope to install them nationwide in conjunction with local businesses and yacht clubs.

The creators were inspired to create this eco-friendly cost-effective solution when they realised the man-powered boats which collected rubbish were not effective, they were incredibly time-consuming and also expensive.

Scientists recently revealed how they’d ‘accidentally’ created an enzyme which can eat through the plastic at a ‘more effective rate’.

This has to lead the scientific community to believe this newly created enzyme can solve the plastic pollution problem which is currently devasting Earth’s oceans, writes IFL Science!

Professor John McGeehan, Director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Portsmouth says:

Few could have predicted that since plastics became popular in the 1960s, huge plastic waste patches would be found floating in oceans, or washed up on once pristine beaches all over the world.

We can all play a significant part in dealing with the plastic problem, but the scientific community who ultimately created these ‘wonder-materials’, must now use all the technology at their disposal to develop real solutions.

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The plastic-hungry enzyme was accidentally created when researchers from the university and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory were examining the structure of the original Japanese bacteria’s enzyme.

It’s so important to fight this – it’s come far too late really, but at least the plastic problem is being addressed now.

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