First Ever Ocean Plastic Cleanup Device Being Tested This Week

Trevor English

ocean clean up prototype[Image Source: Ocean Cleanup]

Modern oceans have become polluted with millions of tons of plastic, killing wildlife and harming the environment. This plastic waste is a problem that needs to be addressed, and one Dutch company is setting out to find a practical solution to clean the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup just unveiled their first working prototype this week, and it is going to be installed in a few days. 23 kilometers off of the Dutch coast in the North Sea will be the first location to see this innovative device, where it will undergo practical testing. To learn a little bit more about who exactly The Ocean Cleanup is, take a look at the video below.

"The 100 meter-long barrier segment to be deployed in the North Sea this week will help validate the survivability of the system. Sensors will track every motion of the prototype and the loads it is subjected to. The data gathered will enable engineers to develop a system fully resistant to severe conditions during the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. " ~ The Ocean Cleanup

CEO Boyan Slat was just 16-years-old when he had the idea to found the company after a diving experience where he found more plastic bags in the water than fish. Regardless of your standpoint on environmental issues, ocean plastic is a growing issue considering it is harming the international fishing industry, and hurting countless wildlife across the globe.

This week marks the first test of The Ocean Cleanup's innovative collection technique. A team of hydrodynamic engineers has perfectly designed a floating barrier which collects plastic on the ocean's surface to respond to harsh weather and maintain effectiveness. The trial in the North Sea will mainly be to see the results of the device in a real-world environment.

"The Ocean Cleanup’s cleaning technology makes use of long floating barriers which act as an artificial coastline, passively catching and concentrating ocean debris." ~ The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Clean Up barrier[Image Source: Ocean Cleanup]

The two main backers of the project are Dutch government, and world-renowned dredging and marine contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., according to the press release. This groundbreaking prototype will be the first large-scale ocean cleaning device implemented and tested. It will stay in the location for one year, after which the team will evaluate its effectiveness and figure out how to move forward.

"The Ocean Cleanup is an inspiring example of how we can tackle the growing problem of ocean pollution. I hope that with the help of the Dutch government, Boyan’s prototype will turn out to be the successful solution for cleaning up the mid-ocean gyres. This is crucial to prevent permanent damage to the environment and marine life, due to the degradation and fragmentation of plastic waste materials.” ~ Dutch Prime Minister

Boyan Slat[Image Source: Ocean Cleanup]

SEE ALSO: Graphene Nanobots Can Clean Pollutants from the Ocean

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