Dutch Inventor Confirms That His Ocean Cleaning Boom Is Working!
We have to admit, our oceans are not as clean as they used to be. There were plenty of studies, research, and trials are done to try to clean our ocean waters, but most of them failed. But a Dutch inventor discovered an ocean cleaning boom. This is used to catch plastic along the Pacific Ocean, specifically between California and Hawaii.
It did have a couple of setbacks at first, but this system for catching plastic that is floating in the Pacific is now working! This is what the Dutch inventor confirmed.
At an estimate, around 600,000 to 800,000 metric tons of fishing gear are left or lost during storms every year in the oceans. Whereas, 9 million tons of plastic waste which includes plastic bottles, toys, bags, food wrappers, and more, are flowing annually into the ocean from rivers, creeks, and beaches.
The Dutch inventor is Boyan Slat. He is a university dropout and founded The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization. His team works together to make a successful system that can effectively collect trash from the open seas.
He recently announced that the floating boom has been successfully skimming up the waste that is ranging in size – from discarded nets to a car wheel. It can also catch plastic that is as small as 1 millimeter!
The floating boom was towed out to the sea last year but the barrier did not catch any trash during the first few weeks of operation. They realized that it was moving at the same speed as the plastic. So they used an underwater parachute anchor as a solution that could slow down the boom for it to be able to catch trash quickly.
It also was a failure last year since the barrier broke because of the constant pummeling wind and waves in the Pacific. The team needed to repair it for four months before they can relaunch it from Vancouver in June. Other than that, it also experienced ‘overtopping.’ This happens when the waves push the trash over the line of floating corks that was supposed to hold the screen. The team of scientists was also able to resolve this by using a line with larger corks in order to corral the plastic.
According to Slat, the results of this invention are promising enough that they started to design a second system that they can send to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is an area of floating plastic trash that is twice the size of Texas. The floating boom is built with a tapered 10-foot-deep screen that works as a coastline. The scientists estimate that this can trap around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that swirling around the waters to allow the marine animals to safely swim beneath it.
When asked about their experience in the process of building and testing this system, he said, “if the journey to this point taught us anything it is that it’s definitely not going to be easy.”
The organization is hoping that they can continue to develop plastic traps like this, scale them up and deploy more of them to the Pacific. If this happens, thousands of tons of plastic can be cleaned from the ocean each year.
However, Slat did not reveal yet when the second version is going to be ready for launch.