The Ocean Cleanup project, a non-profit which was founded in 2013 by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, aims to remove 90% of plastic waste from the world’s oceans by 2040. The organisation uses a passive system that harnesses the natural flow of the sea to trap and extract plastic waste, which can then be recycled or properly disposed of onshore. The cost of clearing plastic waste from beaches and oceans worldwide amounts to billions of dollars annually. Collaborative efforts can reduce plastic pollution, with individuals incentivised to reduce their own use and support clean-up initiatives.
Massive Ocean Cleanup Effort Aims to Remove 90% of Plastic Waste by 2040
The world’s oceans have become a dumping ground for plastic waste over the years, with an estimated 8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans annually. This plastic is not just an eyesore; it also poses a significant threat to marine life and the ecosystem as a whole. To combat this problem, a massive ocean cleanup effort has been launched with the goal of removing 90% of plastic waste from the oceans by 2040.
The Ocean Cleanup Project
The ocean cleanup project was initiated by Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor, in 2013. He founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization that develops advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic waste. The Ocean Cleanup has developed a passive system that uses the ocean’s natural currents to collect plastic waste, which is then extracted and transported to shore for recycling or disposal.
The first full-scale system was tested in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. The system was successful in removing large pieces of plastic waste, including fishing nets and ropes, before they could break down into microplastics. The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy multiple systems in the coming years to clean up other areas affected by plastic waste.
Impact of Plastic Pollution
The impact of plastic pollution on marine life and the ecosystem is devastating. Marine animals mistake plastic for food and ingest it, which can cause internal injuries and death. Plastic waste also entangles and suffocates marine animals, making it difficult for them to move and feed. When plastic breaks down into microplastics, it enters the food chain and can harm other animals, including humans.
Plastic pollution also has economic consequences. The cost of cleaning up plastic waste from beaches and oceans runs into billions of dollars annually. The tourism industry also suffers when beaches and oceans are littered with plastic waste, with many tourists opting for cleaner destinations.
What Can You Do to Help?
Individuals can play a crucial role in reducing plastic pollution. Here are some ways to contribute:
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Reduce the amount of plastic you use, reuse any plastic items when possible, and recycle to ensure that plastic waste doesn’t end up in the oceans.
- Clean Up: Participate in beach or river cleanups to remove plastic waste that has already entered the ocean.
- Support Organizations: Support organizations like The Ocean Cleanup that are working to remove plastic waste from the ocean.
What happens to the plastic waste after it is collected?
The plastic waste that is collected is either recycled or disposed of properly onshore.
How long will it take to remove 90% of plastic waste from the oceans?
The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 90% of plastic waste from the oceans by 2040.
Can individuals make a difference in reducing plastic pollution?
Yes, individuals can make a significant difference in reducing plastic pollution by reducing, reusing, recycling, and supporting organizations working to remove plastic waste from the ocean.
What is the economic impact of plastic pollution?
The cost of cleaning up plastic waste from beaches and oceans runs into billions of dollars annually, and the tourism industry also suffers when beaches and oceans are littered with plastic waste.
What are some of the consequences of plastic pollution on marine life?
Plastic pollution can lead to internal injuries and death in marine animals that mistake plastic for food. It can also entangle and suffocate marine animals, making it difficult for them to move and feed. When plastic breaks down into microplastics, it enters the food chain and can harm other animals, including humans.