Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Ocean Cleanup Foundation

From The Mind Unleashed,

When he and others realized that the concept would work he took a leap of faith and created a non-profit organization he calls The Ocean Cleanup Foundation.  This group will focus on the goal of developing his invention, raise funds for it and make it operational as soon as possible. His concept would save numerous aquatic species of fish and help reduce PCB and DDT containments affecting all of us.  Best of all it operates on the power of the sun and by the oceans themselves.
Scientists have considered all manner of ways how the debris could be retrieved but there was no clear answer for it.
Now a 19-year-old inventor by the name of Boyan Slat says we can remove nearly 20 billion tons of plastic waste with his concept he calls an ocean cleanup array.  It is made from a massive series of floating booms and processing platforms that gradually suck in the floating plastic like a giant funnel.

This will not work. The truth is that most of the 'plastic' in the oceans is not floating on the surface, so booms will not collect it. The plastic breaks down in the ocean until it is either molecular or integrated with organic matter (i.e. fish and plankton), at that point it is disbursed evenly in the water column and irreducibly devolved throughout the ocean environment. 

Since most of these 'plastic' hydrocarbon molecules have never existed before the last century, we don't know all of their effects, but some have shown that the mimic organic molecules and cause biological damage, such as masking sex hormones that choose animal gender. 

If all the plastic was big and floating at or near the surface, we could easily clean the oceans, but that easy garbage is usually consumed by animals, such as sea birds and turtles, and the rest is blown ashore somewhere and cleaned up by humans. The real issue is the dissolved plastics, and this childish idea will not help with that. 

The only way to truly get dangerous plastic chemicals out of the oceans is never to put them there to begin with, and that means we must stop using plastics. That will increase the costs of food, and almost everything in the modern world, and thus it will never happen. 

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