The Ocean Cleanup has cleaned out the most trash ever from one of the largest garbage patches in the world.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic — from fishing nets to microplastics — that amount to roughly 88,000 tons. In 2021, a nonprofit environmental engineering organization named The Ocean Cleanup took the task of cleaning it. This month, The Ocean Cleanup has cleaned out the most trash ever from one of the largest garbage patches in the world. It has removed 25,000 pounds of trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as reported by ABC News. Currently, they are taking the vessels back to a port in Victoria, British Columbia. It has collected over 50 tons of garbage in four weeks, as informed by Alex Tobin, head of public relations and media for the NGO.
Ocean cleanup group removes record 25,000 pounds of trash from Great Pacific Garbage Patch in one extraction. https://t.co/slQY1u7Bjq— ABC News (@ABC) August 17, 2023
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises a large amount of trash that results from waste carried by ocean currents and winds to the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. It is in the world's five most enormous ocean garbage patches. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the exact size of the patch cannot be decided as the trash keeps moving. The Ocean Cleanup evaluated that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has now become twice the size of Texas, Tobin said. The patch has grown so much that it has a coastal ecosystem of its own, reveals a study published by Nature Ecology & Evolution in April.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these garbage patches are not safe for the local ecosystem as marine life gets caught up in the nets and they end up eating plastic and other materials that might be toxic for them and non-native species also get transported here. It might also affect humans as they might end up consuming microplastics from foods such as seafood and sea salt. It might not be entirely possible to eliminate all trash as plastics might not break down fully. But The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 90% of the plastic by 2040. They also plan to remove the "legacy plastics" and debris before the UV rays break them down into microplastics and make their removal impossible.
The process involves two vessels that filter the water and collect all the trash. They also want to clear rivers that bring waste to the sea. "Our goal is to kind of put ourselves out of business," Tobin said. "We don't want to be doing this forever and ever." As this month ends, they are launching a System 03, and it is made in such a way that it can even clear an entire football field and is twice the speed of its predecessor.
"It's sad that there's so much out there, but we're very happy that we now have developed a system that is tackling this more and more effectively," Tobin said. IThe organization also gives the plastic to people who will need it and will not throw it back again. One of them is a Korean car manufacturer that uses plastics in the construction of electric vehicles.