Business Insider reported that Ocean Cleanup’s been working on a device for the last seven years to extract plastic waste from the ocean. The success of this design was when the device captured the garbage and held crates, large cartons, along with fishing gear. Even microplastics measuring less than one millimeter were trapped as well. Initially, the microplastics were a little difficult to capture for they gravitate towards the ocean floor, unlike the large plastics that float on the ocean’s surface. But now it can catch things from ghost nets weighing one-ton to microplastics. Such has been the success of the new invention by Ocean Cleanup.
The founder and CEO of Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat presented the idea of a huge barrier near the Pacific Patch first in a TEDx talk at the age of 18 years. Since then he faced multiple failures but did not lose hope.
Every day, Slat along with his team, would learn from those failures and
rectify the flawed areas. One such incident happened last year when a flawed design prevented the device from holding on to the plastic that it had captured. Unfortunately, a 59-foot section of the barrier got detached from the device.
Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics!
Also, anyone missing a wheel? pic.twitter.com/Oq0rkXO3TH
— Boyan Slat (@BoyanSlat) October 2, 2019
What followed was the plastic floating over the line of the top of the cork, which was meant to keep the system stable. They had also observed that the barrier called the System 001/B was imbibing thrust from the water currents outpacing the litter. This further involved some upgrades and recoveries with some new ideas. The device was then slowed down with the help of a parachute-anchor. This allowed swiftly moving plastics to float directly into the barrier. Soon after this attempt was made, the cork line was also fixed that allowed very little of the litter to pass across the barrier.
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Slat and his team could finally succeed in creating this U-shaped barrier that drops a net under the ocean surface and captures the objects moving due to the whirlpool of ocean currents. However, there is some space below the net for the fishes to swim under it.
Slat mentioned that his team remained steadfast in its determination to solve several technical challenges to arrive at this point. Ocean Cleanup wants to improve the device so that it can hold the plastic for at least a year until the collection becomes necessary. The team further planned to start on the next iteration named System 002 which will be a full-scale cleanup device. It will be able to sustain even in rough conditions and hold the collected plastic for longer periods. After the litter’s collected, it would be sent for recycling.
633 Divers Break Record for World’s Largest Underwater Cleanup https://t.co/rwdw7vuFG0
— Robb Edwards Ⓥ (@RobRobbEdwards) June 17, 2019