We read about it, we hear about it, and we all seem to know what’s to come; it’s not only climate change, but the pollution in the oceans will be our end.
Or is it?
In this past month, The Ocean Cleanup has made groundbreaking efforts in the fight to clean our waters. Founded by twenty-seven-year-old Boyan Slat, the company creates large-scale systems to efficiently concentrate the plastic for periodic removal. With their new and improved System 002, they have announced its final test passed with flying colors, making history in the efforts of cleaning the worst cluster of pollution in the oceans: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
It is possible. We can clean our oceans.
‘BREAKING: The final test of system 002 is completed, and we have another big catch on deck,’ Reads a post on their Instagram account. ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch can now be cleaned. The crew is already sorting the catch, and lots of information is still to be processed. Stay tuned!’
So how does this technology work? To put it simply: by dragging an 800-meter long artificial coastline through areas where plastic has accumulated.
A U-shaped flexible barrier is a result of two vessels pulling on System 002 on each end. This barrier collects plastics into a retention zone at its far end. Once it’s full, the back of the retention zone is taken aboard the vessels, sealed off, detached from the system, and emptied on board. The retention zone is then put back in place and the cleanup continues.
If this was possible, what could be next?
New technology is being developed, slowly but surely, every day. Feats like this make me hopeful for the future of what technology can do for us all. For example, you might ask: how can you see this technology advancing in the future? What are the impacts of this technology on society? In this case, the answers can only be viewed positively. With this successful system, new iterations for different contexts will be developed: will we be able to clean our rivers? Clean our lakes? Could we finally have clean water for all? I think so.
It may be a long ways away, but pollution in our oceans may not be our demise after all.
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