The Great Ocean Cleanup Has Begun!

Alan L. Johnson

Ocean Cleanup reported that they launched their System 001 last year.

After 5 years of research, engineering and testing, we launched the world’s first ocean cleanup system from San Francisco Bay, marking the start of the cleanup. The system is now on its way to an intermediary test stop, 250-350 nautical miles offshore for a two-week trial before continuing its journey toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 1,200 nautical miles offshore, to start the cleanup.

Now in an update, they say they are:

...busy working towards establishing a plastic mass budget in the ocean. This means understanding where ocean plastic is coming from, where it is accumulating, and what happens to it in the long term.

This is the largest ocean cleanup project globally. The use of plastics is a worldwide environmental issue.
Alarmingly, National Geographic recently published that:

  1. More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans.
  2. As of 2015, more than 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or environment.
  3. Worldwide, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic: filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers.
  4. By 2050, virtually every seabird species on the planet will be eating plastic.
  5. Some 700 species of marine animals have been reported so far to have eaten or become entangled in plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup is going to ultimately serve to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which has been reported by Ocean Cleanup to have:

A total of 1.8 trillion plastic pieces were estimated to be floating in the patch - a plastic count that is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for every human in the world.

What is distressing is the incredible increase in the production of plastics. While there have been more discussions started around substitutions or biodegradable plastics there is a lot of work left to do around consumption behaviors.

There are many organizations trying to educate consumers on avoiding plastics.

We can all do more to help reduce the plastics we use and ultimately go into the ground or more likely into the oceans.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. What types of plastic do you use in your daily life?

Q2. What could you do to reduce your plastic use?

Q3. What do you think we should do about the global plastic pollution problem?