Today’s Solutions: October 17, 2021

Since it first undertook the daunting task of ridding our oceans of plastic debris in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup has made numerous tweaks to its trash-catching barrier system — and the latest one may be the most important yet.

The most recent update involves an active propulsion system rather than a passive one, which was trialed previously to take advantage of the ocean’s currents to collect plastic. That old approach, however, showed that it wasn’t quite up for the job, with the system struggling to maintain the necessary speed to collect the trash.

The novel system, on the other hand, is powered by active propulsion, with crewed vessels at either point of the U-shaped barrier towing it through the water at a steady speed of 1.5 knots.

One of the benefits of having the system towed by crewed vessels is that it can be steered towards areas of high waste concentration. Another benefit is that the model will be more commercially viable to scale up, allowing for similar systems to be deployed in other parts of the ocean where the problem of plastic pollution is rampant.

The new design, named Jenny, features an 800-meter-long (2,640-ft) barrier and is described as the Ocean Cleanup Project’s largest trash-collecting system so far. It was recently deployed for the first time in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and will undergo more than 70 separate tests over the next 15 months.

In addition to validating the design, the tests aim to demonstrate that the new model has a minimal environmental impact and poses no safety issues, while also collecting a significant amount of plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup’s novel system, together with its Interceptors — solar-powered barges preventing plastic waste from entering the ocean via rivers — are eventually expected to cut floating ocean plastics by 90 percent by 2040.

Image source: Ocean Cleanup

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This therapeutic plant could help reduce morphine tolerance and opiate addiction

Opioid overdoses are on the rise in the US and around the world, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Addiction treatment, harm reduction, and improved health access are all effective strategies for addressing ... Read More

New treatment kills cancer cells in terminally ill patients

There are about 12,200 new head and neck cancer cases in the UK every year, and many of these patients are diagnosed at advanced stages when the disease is very difficult to treat. The standard ... Read More

6 Ways we can help our dogs live long and healthy lives

Research has shown that having a dog can help boost our physical and mental health as well as make us feel younger. Pets are an enormous source of joy and comfort, and as dog parents, ... Read More

Grauer’s gorilla population makes surprising comeback in DRC

A recent study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has good news for gorillas. The study found that the number of Grauer’s gorillas, the world’s largest gorilla subspecies, has increased from 6,800 compared to ... Read More

New Zealand opens unusual vaccination destination for the weekend

New Zealand is getting an unconventional Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the form of a Boeing 787 plane. The winged vaccination site is being operated by Air New Zealand this weekend as part of the government’s ... Read More