Great Pacific Garbage Patch
If you read the news about plastic waste, then you probably know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Growing exponentially, the Garbage Patch poses an existential threat to the marine animals, and the people who rely on the ocean for sustenance. In order to fight this plastic waste menace, scientists and engineers set to work, and created Ocean Cleanup.
While it shows great promise in plastic harvesting, Ocean Cleanup launched to a rocky start. Debuting on October, 2018 Ocean Cleanup experienced problems, but now it’s fixed, relaunched, and already showing promising results. This news thrills us at OkStraw Paper Straws, and we eagerly look forward to hearing Ocean Cleanup’s further successes.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
Plastic waste is a huge threat to our planet. Not only does it contribute to climate change, but plastic waste also doesn’t biodegrade. Much of this plastic waste ends up in the oceans, where it kills marine animals who ingest it. In fact, so much plastic enters the ocean, scientists predict that plastic will outnumber fish by 2050. While we know this prediction all too well at OkStraw Paper Straws, it still scares the daylights out of us.
So what is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s actually two giant circular currents of plastic waste that countries on the Pacific Ocean generate. Located between California and Hawaii, and between Hawaii and Japan, these two garbage masses mostly consist of plastic waste. With at least 1.8 million pieces of plastic, scientists predict the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly growing the day. Unless we use ecofriendly alternatives to plastic, this massive oceanic patch will grow out of control.
Enter The Ocean Cleanup
Based out of the Netherlands, The Ocean Cleanup’s star creation is a plastic harvesting device. Ocean Cleanup consists of bloating booms in the Garbage Patch, and fine screens attached that catch and contain plastic particles. After containing these plastics, cleanup crews can then take this waste to shore, and properly recycle them.
First presented by CEO Boyan Slat at a TEDx conference in 2012, Ocean Cleanup underwent a lengthy development phase.The Ocean Cleanup device finally made its debut on October 2018, but had to go in for repairs this January. Relaunching on June 2019, Ocean Cleanup announced that the device is successfully harvesting plastic waste.
In addition to harvesting visible plastic waste, Ocean Cleanup can now capture microplastic pieces as small as 1 millimeter. Microplastics are a big problem, because unlike biodegradable paper, they never dissolve, and continue polluting the environment. If anyone is serious about harvesting plastic waste, then they have to capture microplastics.
A Future Without Plastic Harvesting
While Ocean Cleanup’s plastic harvesting is fantastic news, we at OkStraw Paper Straws know it’s only half of the fight. If we truly want to end the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, then we need to stop generating plastic waste. Thanks to tons of ecofriendly plastic alternatives on the market, plastic’s days are finally numbered.
Unlike plastic straws, OkStraw’s paper straws are fully biodegradable, requiring no special composting or recycling facilities. As longtime Pacific coastal residents, we at OkStraw witness the impact plastic waste has on our beaches and waterways. Because of this, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the people behind Ocean Cleanup for all they’ve done. There may still be tons of plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but you’ll never find an OkStraw paper straw among them.
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