Almost eight years ago, we talked about The Ocean Cleanup: the protagonist is the nineteen year old boy, Boyan Slat that, in 2012, presented his idea at TEDx in Delft. Officially founded in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization that today has a network of 120 members including engineers, researchers, scientists, computational modelers and supporting roles, working daily to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. The goal is to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
How is the project going? To take a recent example, in 2018, The Ocean Cleanup engineered System 001 an apparatus designed to wade through the area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – hundreds of millions of kilograms of plastic waste across its 20 million square kilometers – to retrieve garbage, with a huge net. This years, in July, System 002 removed more than 100,000 kilograms of plastics.
The Ocean Cleanup is currently conceptualizing the third collection system, which will be the largest and most efficient model to date. The System 03 apparatus will consist of three vessels that will carry a massive 2,500-meter wide and four-meter deep net system to gather debris and funnel it to a sizable retention zone; drones will identify waste hotspots. Once collected, the waste is sent for recycling or repurposing. The organization plans to create a fleet of ten System 03 machines in the coming months.