Crushed plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags and styrofoam. A strong stream of water pours them back into the ocean from a vast fishing net. A crane hoists a massive net filled with plastic debris. Then the giant crane transports its foul cargo onto a barge and unfurls its steel embrace. That's how tons and tons of plastic waste end up on the deck.
Plastic accumulates in five ocean garbage patches; the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California, is the largest. Floating plastics, which are trapped in the patches, will keep circulating until they break down into smaller and smaller pieces. This makes it harder to clean up and makes it increasingly easier for sealife to mistake it for food.
In the face of an escalating crisis threatening our oceans, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the global menace of plastic pollution. Their mission not only resonates with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land), but also encapsulates the broader aspirations of our global society for a cleaner, healthier planet.
The Ocean Cleanup's core focus revolves around the colossal issue of plastic waste in our oceans, and they're leaving no stone unturned to combat it effectively. As plastic waste continues to accumulate in five ocean garbage patches, most notably the Great Pacific Garbage Patch situated between Hawaii and California, The Ocean Cleanup's commitment aligns seamlessly with the SDGs' call for responsible consumption and environmental protection. They're addressing SDG 14's goal of preserving marine life and SDG 15's objective of safeguarding terrestrial ecosystems.
Every year, millions of tons of plastic infiltrate our oceans, predominantly from rivers, with no inherent mechanism for self-removal. The Ocean Cleanup recognizes the urgency of addressing this issue comprehensively, symbolizing our collective responsibility as part of the global society. They are determined to "turn off the tap" at the source and "mop the floor" by cleaning up existing plastic pollution, striving to eventually put themselves out of business once the oceans are pristine.
The initiative goes even further in line with the global society's desire for proactive solutions. The Ocean Cleanup intends to recycle the collected ocean plastic into durable products, thus making their cleanup operations financially self-sustainable. This circular approach to tackling plastic pollution sets a commendable example for others to follow.
One remarkable endeavor highlighting their dedication is the transformation of plastic waste from their prototype System 001/B into sunglasses—a testament to their commitment to giving ocean plastic a new life and reducing its environmental impact.
The Ocean Cleanup, guided by the overarching principles of the global society, actively endeavors to fulfill its mission by intercepting plastic in rivers, thereby addressing the source of ocean plastic pollution, and by cleansing the oceans of existing plastic accumulations. Through their relentless efforts and adherence to the SDGs, they exemplify a promising path toward a cleaner, more sustainable future for our planet.
More information: https://theoceancleanup.com/
Video credits: @TheOceanCleanup
Image credits: The Ocean Cleanup