Roughly eight million metric tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean each year, where it floats around until it is consumed by sea creatures or collected on the sea floor. To eliminate some of this waste, a nonprofit company in the Netherlands, called The Ocean Cleanup, has begun an initiative to rid the water of floating plastic. Their solution consists of a large barrier which hovers on the ocean’s surface and holds up an underwater net to capture debris as it floats by.
The prototype is over three hundred feet long and about sixty deep, allowing it to catch any buoyant ocean litter which is floating in the area. The floating tube barrier sits on top of the water and is bent into a V-shape parallel to the oceans current. This allows all the garbage to collect at the peak of the V as the current carries it, resulting in an easy removal by workers after a period of time. This method is superior to previous cleanup initiatives as it works naturally over time, requiring no gas or energy.
The device is currently implemented as a trial before it is to go to full scale, ensuring that the floating barrier can withstand the drastic weather conditions and currents faced in the North Sea. If the conditions prove too rough, the debris will simply go over top of the floating barrier as wave’s crash and currents escalate. For the period of the trial, the team will be depositing biodegradable plastic into the water themselves, imitating the amount of debris there would be in the highest littered areas of the world. This will allow the team to control the amount of garbage the barrier comes in contact with to let them monitor how much they trap.
If the prototype works as successfully as the team believes, The Ocean Cleanup will launch a full scale model measuring sixty miles in length for maximum results. This full size design will be placed in the Pacific Ocean, between the west coast of the United States and Hawaii, where there is an abundance of plastic litter.
Green initiatives such as The Ocean Cleanup barrier help to eliminate a portion of the worlds litter to ensure all waste is properly disposed, causing the least harm to the earth as possible. Many companies are now focusing on being more socially responsible in order to create a sustainable future. Eclipse Automation itself has implemented rigorous recycling and waste reduction programs as a means to promote environmental responsibility not only to its employees, but to its partners and clients.
Source: Popular Mechanics