Cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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A cleanup system (called System 001) was launched in September this year that will use ocean currents to collect vast amounts of floating plastic.

System 001 is currently being towed from California to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest accumulation zone of ocean plastics, which is estimated to weigh 79,000 tons.

Consisting of a 600-meter long float with a 3-meter long skirt, System 001 has been designed to minimize the danger to wildlife, mainly thanks to the system’s slow movement.

A non-profit organization, The Ocean Cleanup, is overseeing the operation, and estimate that they can remove 50 percent – or 39,500 tons of plastics – from the ocean within five years.

It is thought, however, that every year some eight million tons of discarded plastic is washed out to sea.

This constitutes a major problem, as large plastic pieces strangle wildlife. Also, fish ingest micro-bits of plastic, mistaking it for food.

Although there are no studies if eating these infected fish could impact human health, there could be far-reaching consequences.

Once System 001 arrives at the destination, it will be extensively monitored around the clock to observe the system’s behaviour and its impact on the surrounding environment.

For more information on the project, or to track System 001’s live position, visit The Ocean Cleanup Project here.



Photo: Photopin


Sebastien De schrijver Sebastien De schrijver

I am a cognitive psychologist finishing my thesis at the University of Geneva about human working memory. The understanding of how the human brain processes information has far-reaching consequences for the way we organize parts of society.

I am particularly interested in how cognitive psychology and neurosciences can explain human behavior. I aim to use recent research in this field to achieve meaningful durable change in society.

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