Ocean Cleanup: Seas plasticfree can be widely done after a successful test

The technology to extract plastic from the sea on a large scale is viable after years of experimentation and can be applied immediately. Thats what the organization The Ocean Cleanup, which was founded by Dutchman Boyan Slat.

Slat launched the idea of catching plastic from the sea eight years ago with long floating arms. Since then, the technique has improved several times. With the latest type, with two ships towing a floating arm across the sea, 28.659 kilos of plastic waste was removed from the Pacific Ocean, and The Ocean Cleanup concludes the testing phase.

โ€œWhile this is just the tip of the iceberg, these pounds are the most important well ever collect,โ€ Slat says in a statement. โ€œBecause these pounds prove all this is possible.โ€

Previous tests went less well. In the News & Co programme on NPO Radio 1 Slat looked back on a 2018 test operation, โ€œIt couldnt catch plastic. It broke in half as well. So that was a very good test, but not a success.โ€ When things went wrong a few times in a row, Boyat sometimes dropped the courage. โ€œThat we thought, not again!โ€

Longer arms

Now that the test phase of the latest technology, System 002, is complete, The Ocean Cleanup gripping arms can be used immediately to extract plastic from the sea on a large scale. At the same time, the organization is working on a new method, System 003, which gets even longer floating arms of 2.5 kilometres, allowing three times more plastic to be collected per sea.

The nearly 30,000 kilos of plastic waste collected from the tests included toilet seats, toothbrushes, laundry baskets, shoes and discarded fishing tackle, among others. According to The Ocean Cleanup, this shows that all of humanity is involved in the polluted seas.

Fish among plastic

The project has also been criticized in recent years. The organizations research showed that the floating arms do not only bring plastic, but also large amounts of fish, crabs and squids from the sea. โ€œThey spend tens of millions of dollars trying to figure out how to fish,โ€ a biologist previously told the US technology site Gizmodo about this.

According to Slat, this by-catch is not easy. โ€œWe actually developed the worlds worst fishing net. If you see the videos of the tons that are currently clapping on the deck, you can see that its pretty much plastic. Its really about 0.1 percent.โ€ He also says that the organization continues to work on ways to save marine life as much as possible.

CCeit at 3 previously made this video about Boyan Slat, the founder of The Ocean Cleanup: