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Tue Jan 1, 2019, 07:30 PM

Remember That $20 Million Ocean Cleanup Project? It Isn't Working.

https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/01/remember-that-20-million-ocean-cleanup-project-it-isnt-working/

Remember That $20 Million Ocean Cleanup Project? It Isn’t Working.
Organizers are trying to clear a pile of debris twice the size of Texas.
Paola Rosa-Aquino
January 1, 2019 6:00 AM
This story was originally published by Grist. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.


The $20 million effort to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has hit a bit of a snafu.

Organizers for The Ocean Cleanup, which launched the project in September, already had their work cut out for them—the floating garbage patch is made up of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, which has coalesced into a field of debris twice the size of Texas, weighing in at 88,000 tons (that’s the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets, yikes).

In order to clean up the massive garbage island, engineers at the non-government organization built a U-shaped barrier, which they hoped would act like a coastline, trapping the plastic floating in large swathes of the patch. The system can communicate its whereabouts at all times, allowing a support vessel to come by periodically to pick up all the junk in the device’s trunk, so to speak, for recycling.

The highly anticipated endeavor deployed out of San Francisco in September, when the floating device—known as System 001 or Wilson—was towed out to the island of rubbish located between California and Hawaii. The goal of The Ocean Cleanup is to remove up to 50 percent of plastics in the area within five years.

But so far, the giant garbage catcher is having issues holding on to plastic waste.

George Leonard, chief scientist of the Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy says the organization’s goal is admirable, but can’t be the only solution to ocean plastics pollution. He said a solution must include a multi-pronged approach, including stopping plastic from reaching the ocean in the first place. Humans dump more than 8 million tons of trash into the ocean each year—the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic every minute.

more...

https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/01/remember-that-20-million-ocean-cleanup-project-it-isnt-working/

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Reply Remember That $20 Million Ocean Cleanup Project? It Isn't Working. (Original post)
babylonsister Jan 1 OP
Hermit-The-Prog Jan 1 #1
defacto7 Jan 1 #2
Demovictory9 Jan 2 #5
silverweb Jan 1 #3
lamp_shade Jan 2 #4
defacto7 Jan 2 #6
Aristus Jan 2 #7
silverweb Jan 2 #8

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 07:46 PM

1. blister packs and grocery bags

An example of stupid plastic usage: I bought some electrical connectors for automobile circuits. These consist of copper wire and the connectors all molded with PVC insulation. Each one came in a plastic bag as if to be displayed on a rack in a store. These bags were packed in a plastic bag which was then packed into a plastic shipping bag. I won't order from that company again, and told them why.

If the PVC can't protect those wires from shipping, it's a failed product.

Why are there plastic scuff protectors on USB cable ends? And on tv bases?

Why are so many products blister-packed in plastic?

When you throw something away, where is away?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 08:18 PM

2. Modify the design and continue.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 02:11 AM

5. plus 1

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 08:36 PM

3. Problems were not unexpected.

This is something completely new, something that no one has ever tried before.

The first deployment was more of a test run than anything else and the fact that it didn't operate perfectly is a nonissue. The concept is sound and the team will get it right. First test runs of anything are often not completely successful.

I get very irritated when people denounce something novel as "not working" when it's just been introduced. It's a defeatist and completely nonproductive attitude, something we certainly don't need for this important project.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 02:09 AM

4. Amen.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 10:46 AM

6. this!

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Response to silverweb (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 10:50 AM

7. To quote Leo McGarry from The West Wing:

"There is a period in the history of everything that works when it didn't work."

Now that they know there's a problem, they'll be able to determine what the problem is, and fix it.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 2, 2019, 11:10 AM

8. Exactly!

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