The Ocean Cleanup is the deployment of a ship made of multiple pipes between California and Hawaii to capture waste at the surface.
(The Ocean Cleanup)
Officials are gearing up for the launch of a floating vessel — a comprehensive plan masterminded by a college dropout this weekend with the hope that it will act as a giant trash collector and, ultimately, to rid the Pacific Ocean of a Texas-sized “island” of waste.
The Ocean Cleanup Foundation plans for the 2,000-metre-long, U-shaped construction of San Francisco on Saturday. It will be drawn by the bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge and taken hundreds of miles off the coast, where it will undergo the final tests.
After a number of trials, which is expected to be at least two weeks, the ship will go in the direction of the quantity of waste that now stretches 600,000 square kilometers between California and Hawaii.
The Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, the 24-year-old CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, are at the forefront of the multi-million dollar project.
PLAN TO CLEAR GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH, A TEXAS-SIZED ‘ISLAND’ OF DEBRIS IN THE OCEAN, DRAWS CONCERNS
“After 273 scale model tests, six at-sea prototypes, a comprehensive map of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) with 30 ships and aircraft, and several technology iterations, we are now ready to complete the world’s first ocean cleanup system to the test,” The Ocean Clean up, said in a statement provided to Fox News.
The ship floats on the top of the water, the use of a screen attached below to collect plastic and other waste. The floating barrier will then concentrate the plastic waste at a central point, where it can be fished out of the water and returned to dry land for recycling.
If all goes according to plan and the aircraft is a success, The Ocean Cleanup estimates they will be able to bring back their first batch of the plastic San Francico within a few months after the launch.
“During the period in which the System 001 is the only active scavenging system, project 50 tons of plastic to pick up per year. The entire fleet of systems is projected to extract up to 14,000 tonnes of plastic per year. We estimate to be able to remove 50 percent of the plastic in circulation in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the 5 years, we have reached full scale of 60 systems,” the organisation says.
While the project sounds promising, some experts are concerned about the impact it could have on the marine life — if the message is sent.
Eben Schwartz, marine debris program manager for the California Coastal Commission, earlier told Fox News that he believes the organization has the “best intentions”, but are only a small percentage of the total plastic enter the oceans per year.
GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH, FLOATING ‘ISLAND’ OF DEBRIS IN THE OCEAN IS NOW TWICE THE SIZE OF TEXAS
“Eight million tons of [waste] entering the world’s oceans every year,” Schwartz said. “Their project can be wildly successful cleaning of the outside, but they are only concerned with a minuscule percentage.”
Schwartz, who has met with members of The Ocean Cleanup and toured their test facility, explains that he hopes that the project is a huge success.” However, he has concerns with a number of the group’s rhetoric.
“My biggest concern is not the project itself, it is the messages that is coming from,” Schwartz explained. “They are cleaning only the surface. We see the plastic in the water columns, at the bottom of the sea, deposited in the polar ice caps. The problem is much, much, much larger than the coverage suggests.”
A “floating” island of trash called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) now stretches 600,000 square kilometers.
(AP Photo/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center)
However, The Ocean Cleanup says it never condoned the message that it is “OK” to the nest, adding that they do not believe that their method is the only solution to the problem.
“While cleaning up persistent floating ocean plastic is only part of the equation, it is the only solution for an existing problem. Even if we stop with all the plastic in the oceans, we are confronted with the fact that there are huge amounts of plastic in the ocean that needs to be cleaned up before it breaks in smaller parts,” the organization told Fox News in August.
The Ocean Cleanup, claims that it is not reduced, the problem of pollution plaguing our oceans and adds just want to address the problem before things get worse.
Schwartz is also concerned about the impact that the contraption will have on the marine life. The clearance of the vessel, which is made of a set of connected pipes, will hang from a 9 metres long, just under the interception of waste.
The Ocean Cleanup conducted hundreds of scale model tests over the years to ensure that the vessel would be able to handle rough currents.
(The Ocean Cleanup)
“The way the ocean works, I think it would be almost impossible that there is zero impact on the marine fauna of this device to trap everything in the area,” Schwartz explained. “It will intercept krill, plankton … and that makes it a potential breeding ground for animals.”
Ocean Cleanup, but defended her model and pointed to several systems that they have to protect the marine life.
The ship slow speed, impermeable screen, and the people checking for signs of marine life, as the screen is lifted out of the water helps prevent any casualties, Ocean Cleanup states.
“We follow the system and its surroundings continuously with the help of both human observers and equipment on and around the system. We are using PAM, the cameras on the system, acoustic buoys and the AutoNautTM, an autonomous, remotely operated surveillance ship,” the group recently noted.
Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.