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According to the World Economic Forum, globally we produce about 400 million tons of plastic waste yearly and 40 million tons belong only to the USA. Statistic says that of that amount, just 9% has been recycled and as a result, we are throwing more waste into the earth than the one we collect from it.
According to them, every hour more than 2 million plastic bottles are thrown away in the US and approximately 75-199 million tons of plastic are currently in the ocean water, with an estimated time of degradation of 450 years.
Some plastic garbage pollution ends up in giant trash island as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is actually the largest known trash gyre and is located between California and Hawaii. It covers approximately 1.6 million square kilometers, contains 1.8 million pieces of plastic along with other types of floating items and the estimated tonnage is 90,000.
SEA CLEANING PROCESS
The most efficient effort in the milestone to have the pacific Garbage Patch free from trash has been performed for the company Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization with the clear goal to get rid of the 90% of floating garbage in the ocean.
The company has announced they reached an updated technology to better clean the floating waste almost once a week. Their collecting system covers 2.5 kilometers and basically consists of a large floating net forming a U shape that is connected by two ships. The natural movement from the waves takes the trash directly to the net center so it can be swept and finally collected. Once they have pickup up the trash, it is separated into different categories, then packed, and finally sent to the recycling center allied to them.
The help provided by Ocean Cleanup has been as helpful as controversial. Some ocean experts are actually afraid about the damage the process may inflict on the species captured by the net and even the fossil fuel used to power the ships, which emit more than 600 tons of carbon toxins into the air. Despite that, Ocean clean refers to having a safe system for the fish to escape the net and also breathing ports for every animal that may be caught by accident. Underwater cameras, sensors, and onboard supervisors are supporting the monitoring process, and they are experimenting with low-carbon emission fuel for fleet movement.
RIVER CLEANING PROCESS
According to Boyan Slat, founder of Ocean Cleanup: Rivers are like the arteries that carry the trash from land to sea.
In another attempt to refrain trash from coming into the sea, Ocean Cleanup has developed a kind of river interceptor to stop and collect the floating plastic pollution in the river mouths. It is all about a vessel ship powered by solar energy and accompanied by a conveyor belt. It uses the water flow to attract the trash, dumps it into a shuttle, and then empties dumpsters that are later driven to the riverside to be emptied. Later on, the material is sent to waste facilities to be treated. This model has brought huge results to rivers from all around the globe, in countries such as Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
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