New technology captures ocean trash

This+graphic+explains+how+The+Ocean+Cleanup+organization+captures%2C%0Aaccumulates%2C+and+extracts+garbage+from+The+Great+Pacific+Garbage+Patch.+
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New technology captures ocean trash

This graphic explains how The Ocean Cleanup organization captures,
accumulates, and extracts garbage from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

This graphic explains how The Ocean Cleanup organization captures, accumulates, and extracts garbage from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

TheOceanCleanup.com

This graphic explains how The Ocean Cleanup organization captures, accumulates, and extracts garbage from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

TheOceanCleanup.com

TheOceanCleanup.com

This graphic explains how The Ocean Cleanup organization captures, accumulates, and extracts garbage from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Liam Peace ’19, Staff Reporter

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Wildlife and the natural oceanic habitat have been under attack due to plastic materials and other types of trash, but citizens are taking a stand to protect the revered Bay.

New technology created by intuitive scientists, which is already in effect, might help the ocean’s deteriorating conditions and provide a standard of health in the coming years.

The technology attacks the issue at hand while using conventional methods. A 600-meter long floater, which sits upon the surface of the water, is tapered with a skirt beneath it. The floater provides a defense mechanism disabling trash to flow over it, while the skirt stops foreign materials from escaping underneath it. The intuitive design allows materials to be captured ranging in millimeters of size, like cigarette butts, but also specifically large debris.

Powered by solar energy, the system relies on natural oceanic elements like currents and wind direction to help concentrate the inflow of plastics towards the skirt, allowing it to be captured.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a vortex of trash found in the Pacific Ocean. It mostly consists of marine debris and foreign, man made materials, mostly plastics. It was originally discovered in 1950, and has only grown larger since then.

While the net could ultimately secure large amounts of trash in the sea, could this device negatively impact oceanic wildlife? Michael O’Brien, AP Environmental Science teacher, has his doubts regarding the practicality of the net. He said, “You are going to get organisms caught in these nets, especially once the garbage accumulates.”

Furthermore, O’Brien added, “Anything caught in these nets is going to die.” This could prove to be devastating if the device backfires by harmfully damaging wildlife.

The organization also claims that more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic and foreign materials litter the ocean. The statistic at hand questions the character of many as O’Brien stated, “We all have to look at our own moral compass.” This trash, from plastics to bottles, kills maritime wildlife by entangling them, as well as ingestion. In late November, a sperm whale washed ashore in Indonesia that consumed a large amount of plastic trash, including 115 drinking cups, 25 plastic bags, bottles, two flip flops, and 1,000 pieces of string in a bag. All of this trash combined weighed approximately 13 pounds.

According to The Ocean Cleanup organization, the owners of the trash net, their technology will remove 50 percent of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years. Future plans might include fleets of these systems projected to remove 90 percent of the oceans plastic by 2040.

John Wilkins, San Francisco resident and maritime conservationist claims, “The Ocean Cleanup organization has not only demonstrated well-fought efforts to repair damage to the ocean, but they have completely redesigned cleanup exercises, practicing efficiency and scientific research to accomplish a healthier and trash free bay.”

Many others feel the same way. Elizabeth Barkley, a woman who works in downtown San Francisco, said, “If there was no interference to protect the bay, the consequences of the amount of trash could be permanent.”