Researchers sample Great Pacific Garbage Patch before clean-up begins


Boyan Slat, cleanup system inventorVice Media/Manuel Freudt

Researchers returned on Sunday from mapping and sampling a massive swirling cluster of trash floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as the Dutch-borne crew works to refine a clean-up strategy it will roll out globally.

The crew of the Ocean Cleanup, backed by volunteers in sailboats, ventured to areas of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a swirling mass of human-linked debris spanning hundreds of miles of open sea where plastic outnumbers organisms by factors in the hundreds.

The debris, concentrated by circular, clockwise ocean currents within an oblong-shaped “convergence zone”, lies near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the U.S. West Coast. The trash ranges from microscopic pieces of plastic to large chunks.

Working for about a month, the group collected samples as small as a grain of sand and as large as discarded fishing nets weighing more than 2,000 pounds. They mapped the area, using aerial balloons and trawling equipment to locate samples, said oceanographer Julia Reisser…

The next phase, planned for 2016, is the deployment in Japanese coastal waters of a 2,000-meter scale model of the group’s proposed debris collection system, which researchers believe could extend for 96 kilometers.

That system will contain floating stationary booms tethered to the ocean floor and linked in a V shape intended to skim and concentrate surface plastics floating on top of ocean currents.

Every little bit counts. We’re still waiting for realistic regulation and record-keeping of trash discarded from commercial use of Earth’s oceans. The trash should be returned to shore and recycled by those producing it. Of course.

5 thoughts on “Researchers sample Great Pacific Garbage Patch before clean-up begins

    • Update says:

      “World’s First Aerial Survey of Great Pacific Garbage Patch: ‘It’s Worse Than We Thought'” http://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-ocean-cleanup-boyan-slat-2028954014.html
      Boyan Slat, the 22-year-old Dutch inventor and CEO behind The Ocean Cleanup, announced today preliminary results of the organization’s latest major research mission, the Aerial Expedition, the first-ever aerial survey of an ocean garbage patch.
      …The Ocean Cleanup’s Aerial Expedition aims to accurately measure a particularly large and harmful type of marine debris known as ghost nets. The Ocean Cleanup crew determined that quantifying such objects will help resolve the “last piece of our puzzle” following last year’s Mega Expedition, a 30-day reconnaissance mission that produced the first high-resolution map of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but came short in determining just how much plastic was in the ocean, especially larger items.

      • UZA - people's courts, forums & tribunals says:

        Excellent, great stuff; it is going to shock people; and, the worst part is that in 1999 the production of plastic increased 100 fold; and, it takes about 15 years to get to the sea…

        Which means its going to grow dramatically from now; imagine 100 x over a year? even a few?

        Was always wondering about the biblical passage: “…and the sea will be no more…”

        This MUST GO VIRAL!!! thanks for your part in educating and informing us; in peace

  1. Update says:

    Floating Barrier Deployed to Great Pacific Garbage Patch to Collect Trash : The device will trap plastic from an island of trash twice as big as Texas so a vessel can bring it to land to be recycled. (Newsweek 9/10/18) https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-09-10/floating-barrier-deployed-to-great-pacific-garbage-patch-to-collect-trash The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located about 1,200 nautical miles offshore and is made up of 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing approximately 80,000 tons. According to The Ocean Cleanup, it is the largest accumulation zone for ocean plastics on the planet, covering an area twice the size of Texas.
    The barrier, named System 001, is being towed from the San francisco Bay by the vessel Maersk Launcher to a location 250 to 350 nautical miles offshore for a two-week trial. Then it will continue its journey to the patch, which will take two to three more weeks, The Ocean Cleanup said in a press release. https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/system-001-has-launched-into-the-pacific/

  2. Update says:

    The world’s first large-scale ocean cleanup system is now headed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch after successfully completing sea trials off the coast California. https://gcaptain.com/after-successful-trials-maersk-launcher-towing-first-ocean-cleanup-system-to-great-pacific-garbage-patch/ The Ocean Cleanup Project announced Wednesday that its System 001, which departed San Francisco on Sept. 8, is now back in towing configuration and is on its way to the Garbage Patch. The system is being towed by the Maersk Launcher, made available to the project by A.P. Moller-Maersk and DeepGreen, its current charter holder.
    System 001 consists of a 600-meter-long (2000 ft) U-shaped floating barrier with a three-meter (10 ft) skirt. It could be the first of 60 systems focused on removing floating plastic debris from Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located some 1,200 nautical miles offshore, over the next two years.

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