Bit by Bit we clean our oceans, and Bit by Bit we STEM innovators make cleaning oceans easier, as well as preventing the further pollution of water and our planet. Informing ourselves as well as our young students of the importance in maintaining our planet clean makes a WORLD of a difference. The Ocean Cleanup Non-Profit Organization is one of many working creations driven to help clean up trash in the Great Pacific.
SCIENCE: Research teams have created three very important questions, where is all the plastic? What is it causing our oceans? And how much plastic is there? To what it is known today there is about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris, 269,000 tons float on the surface. This plastic is starting to reach wildlife, not knowing better they eat it or get caught in it, and from this they suffer and sometimes it becomes deadly. Most plastic debris are along trafficked shipping lanes and in masses of 350,000-700,000 plastic items. 80% of plastic come from land-based sources, next time you run into a piece of trash, let’s think about those numbers.
TECHNOLOGY: The Ocean Cleanup created a Coastline/Floater mechanism in which it catches the plastic debris going with the current where plastic also follows. On the floater which they call SYSTEM 001, there are satellites, cameras, sensors, and solar-powered electronic pods. They all work together to collect, process, store, and transfer data back to headquarters. The satellites retrieve images, and GPS location. Sensors send back integrity of system and weather conditions. Technology is cleaning our oceans.
ENGINEERING: The Coastline/Floater mechanism has important components, and also taking into consideration wildlife. Engineers took advantage of natural oceanic forces, the coastline/floater moves with the wind, waves, and current, pushing the 600-meter floater forward as well is it naturally making a U. The floater comes above sea-level so that the plastic doesn’t get past the floater. It also has a skirt beneath it, so it catches plastic beneath the surface, however it isn’t very deep so that wildlife can swim beneath the skirt.
MATH: Projection from The Ocean Cleanup expect to clean 50% of Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 5 years with 60 systems working to clean it up. As well as by 2040 being able to clean 90% of ocean plastic.
Next time we run onto some trash on the floor, lets pick it up it! We make a difference.
This blog was written by Kathy Martinez, Summer 2019 Intern.