Rubbish In The Ocean – Can A Fleet Of Rubbish Cleaning Drones Rescue Our Seas?
Thankfully – in 2019, the major issue of huge amounts of rubbish in the ocean appears to be getting through to people. Whereas the old saying, out of sight, out of mind applies to many things waste and recycling related; this issue seems to be finally getting through to people.
At Waster – we have a real focus on reducing plastic waste and illegal dumping – by making all recycling streams and services available to every type of customer, no matter how small they are. Whilst global warming and climate change gets all the headlines, we really believe that the problem of how much rubbish is in the ocean (and growing every day) is an even bigger issue – and one that is much easier to solve.
A bit about Waster!
We help reduce plastic pollution by providing all available recycling services to small and medium Aussie companies – on flexible 30 day agreements. Check out our options below:
How much rubbish ends up in the ocean each year – as at 2019?
According to the magazine National Geographic – the raw statistics relating to how much rubbish is in the ocean is shocking:
“There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.”
The answer is that we really do not know exactly how much rubbish is in the ocean and where it is. It is estimated using scientific models – and of course some places have much more waste than others.
Due to trade winds, currents etc – there are some areas with huge amounts of waste – the infamous Pacific Ocean rubbish island – the patch of rubbish in the ocean the size of Texas!
Why is it so difficult to clean up and remove the rubbish in the ocean?
It is of course very difficult to remove floating debris from the open ocean – let alone the waste that is underwater – and not visible from the surface.
We have covered last year – one idea as to how to clean up the ocean rubbish patch. See here for the blog on the Ocean Cleanup – and how one entrepreneur was using giant floating rings – to capture and remove the rubbish in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Today we cover another good idea – basically the usage of floating garbage eating drones!
Can a floating drone – eat up all the rubbish in the ocean?
Check out the short video below on the Waste Shark – a device created by Rann Marine in the Netherlands.
Quoting from www.watersource.awa.asn.au
“The WasteShark is a 1.5 metre long drone that works like an aquatic vacuum cleaner. It’s modelled on the whale shark, which is a filter feeder that sucks prey like plankton into its mouth.”
“As it ‘swims’ through water, the WasteShark sucks in plastics and other rubbish, eating up to 200 litres of waste in a single trip.”
“The drone is capable of swimming for up to 16 hours and can be controlled manually or set to patrol a defined area.”
“Creator Richard Hardiman said he developed the WasteShark after watching two men attempting to collect rubbish from the harbour in Cape Town using a net.”
“Not knowing anything about maritime practice or waste management in water … I thought I could do it better,” Hardiman said in a TEDx Talk earlier this year.”
A similar project called a Seabin has recently been launched in WA.
Can this approach work in the open ocean?
This approach will have a couple of huge hurdles to overcome – to make any impact on the rubbish in the ocean:
– The sheer volume of plastic entering the ocean every year will dwarf any reduction by drones of this nature
– The technical problem of functioning in the open ocean – the last thing we need is drones breaking down in the open sea
– At sea-drones will need to be followed by a huge garbage collecting ship
– The drones will only be able to impact the top level of the ocean.
The literal tip of an iceberg
The saying – tip of an iceberg is very pertinent to rubbish in the ocean – as the microfibers are under the waves and get eaten by sea-life. No existing drone can solve this issue yet.
Conclusion on rubbish in the ocean:
The first step in a long journey is always very important – so we should welcome this development. The rubbish in the ocean and the huge Pacific Ocean floating rubbish dump is such a huge problem – that it requires a huge global solution.
Let’s stay positive – welcome the Waste Shark – and keep going!