The Ocean Cleanup launches its plastic collecting system
5:37

The Ocean Cleanup launches its plastic collecting system

Science
[MUSIC] [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Lonneke Holierhoek. I'm the COO of The Ocean Cleanup. It's The Ocean Cleanup's mission to develop advanced technologies to rid the world oceans of plastics. We want to reduce the concentration of floating plastic in the ocean by 90% by 2040. Since the one is a floating tube floatation device with a skirt attached beneath it. The skirt is under water for about three meters That system will move around the ocean in a C shape or a U shape, catching up on the plastic, collecting it inside of it. We care so much about the marine life and how much harm the plastic is doing to it, so in designing this system And we've taken great care not to have any adverse effect on the wildlife that's out there. [MUSIC] Our system is not propelled at all, apart from the natural forces of the ocean. It is propulsed by the forces of nature. It is designed to be a passive cleaning up system. [MUSIC] My name is Laurent Lebreton. I'm the lead oceanographer for the ocean cleanup. Basically we study plastic pollution in the ocean so it means understanding the sources, the transport, and the fate of plastic in the ocean. [MUSIC] Think I was saying that micro plastic pollution in particular is increasing substantially over the last few years. I think it's very important to understand that we need to stop putting plastic in the ocean. So plastic are being released in the ocean and they basically move with currents, with wind and wave In those subtropical waters in the north Pacific particularly, in what we call the subtropical [INAUDIBLE] and this area is where particular currents are converging and many debris accumulate. It does migrate, but it stays relatively in the same area, but it moves. There is fiber accumulation. as all in the same syntax or one in each ocean equation. We believe the one in the North Pacific is the largest. [MUSIC] Well I think they can start by really thinking about what plastic they use. Particularly single use plastic I think is one big topic, and also I think that clean up matters. Any time you go to the beach, to rivers, forest and natural environments, if you find trash, it's always good to just pick it up and put it in the bin, right? [MUSIC] Our system one is a beta type version, it's the minimal viable product. So, and it actually works, so it is the intent to start cleaning up. But we want to learn from it for this first year of operation, and collect a lot of valuable information. In order to be able to clean up 50% in five years, we need multiple clean up systems. So we are now launching our first System. The system 001 which will prove the concept and will give us enough information so that we can implement it in a redesign in the next generation of clean up system which will be even bigger, better and more productive. We intend to scale up And we need a fleet of about 60 of those types of systems. We're in a bit of a hurry because we do see the risk of the plastic that's currently out there breaking down into smaller pieces which will cause even more harm. So we really want to get as much out now that it's still big as soon as we can. So we do have some ambition Ambitious plans to scale up fast. We believe that we will have the fleet of 60 systems in operation by 2021. So for the next few months we're going to be super tense. This is This is an exciting moment. But of course the moment we're looking most forward to is to bring this first plastic back to shore. Because that means that it's proven technology and that's what we hope to achieve with this first system. So the idea is that we take the plastic back to land and we work together with our recycling partners. And the idea is that we can process that plastic, and turn it into very nice, desirable products that are durable, designed to not end up back into the oceans. And by selling those, we actually hope to help fund the cleanup, and fund the operations of the cleanup system So next few months I'll be really obsessively looking at the data that's coming in from the vessel, from data streams, from the clean up system Which will hopefully then allow us to catch the first plastic and bring it to land. [MUSIC]

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