It's just a start. In order to free the North Pacific gyre from plastic waste, 1,000 more trips by environmentalists are needed. Less plastic in the sea: The project The Ocean Cleanup has announced that it has collected more than 100 tons of plastic waste from the sea.
"Since deploying in August 2021, System 002 (or: Jenny) has collected 101,353 kg of plastic in 45 deployments," wrote Ocean Cleanup founder Boyan Slat. This cleared an area of sea of more than 3,000 square kilometers. That corresponds to the area of Luxembourg. The Dutch project's prototype systems had previously collected 7.1 tons of plastic waste.
Jenny is a U-shaped net that is towed through the sea by two ships. The two ships sail at 1.5 knots, which is almost 3 km/h, and catch the garbage with the net, which reaches about 3 meters into the sea. It is open at the bottom, allowing fish and marine mammals to escape from it.
The garbage is loaded onto the ship
The collected garbage slowly walks along the net to the end of the U. There is another, closed net in which the plastic is collected. When it is full, it is lifted onto one of the ships and emptied.
On board, the waste is separated and unloaded in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. On land, the plastic is recycled. Garbage collected by Jenny was brought ashore for the first time last fall.
Jenny is The Ocean Cleanup's most successful system to date. The predecessor was a passive system that floated on the sea without propulsion. However, it didn't work as intended and had to be reworked because it didn't have the garbage collection performance it needed.
Dutchman Slat's goal is to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge accumulation of garbage in the North Pacific Gyre.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of 100,000 tons of plastic
The Ocean Cleanup mapped the 2018 Great Pacific Garbage Patch. According to this, the garbage accumulation consists of 79,000 tons of plastic - if the Outer Great Pacific Garbage Patch is included, it is even 100,000 tons. If the current collection is repeated 1,000 more times, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will disappear, Slat wrote.
Jenny is still an experimental system. "Now that our technology is validated, we are ready to move on to our new and expanded System 03, which is expected to potentially capture 10 times more plastic than System 002 through a combination of increased size, improved efficiency, and increased uptime ' Slat continued. The changeover to System 03 will begin shortly.
Plastic is a threat to marine life. They can die if they swallow the parts. In addition, substances released into the water can change the gender distribution in the population, which can lead to reproductive problems. But the litter can also harm humans if they eat sea creatures that have ingested toxic chemicals from the litter.