Plastics are part of daily life for many people in the world, but when these plastics have been improperly disposed of, they often end up in the ocean where they persist for hundreds of years. By breaking down into microplastics, they end up consumed by fish and eventually end up in human diets through commercial fishing. The consequences of these plastics entering our environment and even our own bodies is still being unravelled by researchers today.
The Ocean Cleanup endeavours to fight this growing issue for our oceans and health by using their special passive clean-up method they developed to collect and recycle the ocean. Their impressive mission to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic starts with tackling the ocean garbage patches that exist across the globe.
This is how the revolutionary technology of The Ocean Cleanup works:
Creating an artificial coastline
A methodical and energy-conscious approach is essential to clean such a large area like the ocean. To do this the cleanup system uses two vessels to drag a large u-shaped barrier through the ocean, collecting up floating plastic into a retention zone. By creating this artificial coastline, plastics are concentrated into one area for much easier and more efficient removal.
The circulating currents cause the ocean garbage patches to move the plastic around, making new plastic hotspots in constantly changing locations. With the assistance of computer modelling, accurate predictions can be made of where these hotspots currently are, so the cleanup systems can be strategically placed to target them.
The plastic can be trapped in the cleaning system's retention zone by maintaining a relative speed difference between the floating plastic and the cleanup system itself. In order to collect the plastic debris it is crucial the speed and direction of the cleanup system is correct, as well as how wide the retention zone is. To achieve this the vessels guiding the cleanup system are constantly adjusting these variables as they go.
Once the system is completely filled with plastic, the back of the retention zone is hauled aboard the vessels, sealed off, disconnected from the system, and then all the plastic within is emptied on board. The retention zone, now empty again, is replaced back into the ocean so the cleanup effort can continue on.
After all the plastic containers onboard are full, they are brought back to land to be recycled. Each batch of plastics from the cleanup system will be reprocessed into long-lasting and valuable products.
This system of “Catch, rinse, recycle and repeat” will go on until the oceans are restored to their former condition, free of plastics. Virtue Gaming and Eco-aire are proud to support those behind The Ocean Cleanup as they continue to be Ocean Protectors, using their innovative and ground-breaking work to save our main resource for life on earth.
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