Plastic is the most common pollutant in the world. It is found everywhere on the planet. According to research, almost 20 million metric tons of plastic is introduced in the water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. Apart from the environmental damage, the plastic accumulated in the ocean is harmful to aquatic animals. Plastic waste accumulates because the rate of emission surpasses the rate of cleanup. An NGO is working to balance the difference in rates since 2013. The Ocean Cleanup, founded by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, is launching its latest project aimed at cleaning up ocean plastic. The project initiated is all set to launch from Victoria’s Coast on July 27.
The latest project by the Ocean Cleanup was announced on July 13 and will set out on a journey towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch is a massive garbage heap collected over time between California and Hawaii and covers an area of 1.6 million square kilometers. The project involves the NGO’s latest plastic-collecting technology called System 002, aka ‘Jenny.’
Jenny is a tensioned, 800-m long “artificial coastline” that will drag the debris as it moves along the patch. The garbage will eventually get collected in the “retention zone.” This artificial coastline will be carried with the help of two big vessels. These vessels will move at a slow pace of 0.75 meters per second. The vessels will use computer-generated models to navigate through the patch and target spots of the highest concentration of plastic, which the Ocean Cleanup calls “Natural Hotspots.”
System 002, aka Jenny, is developed keeping in mind autonomous navigation, long-term plastic retention, and durability at sea. In addition, the project will focus on aspects like plastic extraction, optimum speed, the impact of longevity, environmental impact, and overall functioning on its journey. These insights will help The Ocean Cleanup build a more advanced and reliable System 003, just like Jenny was designed based on the learnings of System001.
If the experiments go as expected, the Ocean Cleanup might develop the most sustainable way to clean our water bodies. The goal of the project is to be able to clean up an area of around 1.3 hectares every 15 seconds. The long-term goal for The Ocean Cleanup is to remove 90% of plastic in the oceans by 2040. As of now, plastics in the ocean cost billions of dollars annually.