Innovation That Matters

Floating barriers enable ocean to clean itself

Sport & Fitness

Ocean Cleanup is organizing the largest cleanup in history using floating barriers and natural ocean currents to gather up plastic pollution.

The sheer scope of pollution in our oceans is going to require an enormous effort to clean up. We have recently seen projects such as a denim line and even a plastic-eating microorganism that can help, but Ocean Cleanup is organizing the largest cleanup in history using floating barriers, which will enable ocean currents to passively gather plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup Array started in 2013 and was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The foundation aims to begin a full scale cleanup in 2020, after a series of coastal and offshore pilots. It will use a series of v-shaped floating barriers, which will be attached to the seabed. These will catch the plastic as natural ocean currents sweep through. Then, a non-permeable screen, submerged beneath the surface will help to concentrate the plastic. Sea life will be carried away by the currents, while lighter-than-water plastic is trapped by the barriers. The design of the floating barriers will funnel plastic to the centre of the structure, where it can be extracted en masse and recycled.

The Ocean Cleanup has predicted that a 100 km barrier could remove 40 percent of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over ten years. Is this something for companies on the lookout for CSR opportunities to invest in?

Image source: Ocean Cleanup



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