I’m the founder and chief government of The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit group primarily based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, that goals to take away plastic air pollution from the oceans. My crew and I do that in two foremost methods: by dragging nets throughout areas the place plastic accumulates, such because the Nice Pacific Rubbish Patch, a group of particles within the North Pacific Ocean; and by intercepting waste in rivers earlier than it reaches the ocean. We need to scale back ocean plastic air pollution by 90% by 2040.
This picture was taken in Guatemala close to the mouth of the Motagua River, downstream of Guatemala Metropolis and an enormous landfill. Yearly, round 20,000 tonnes of plastic movement down the river into the Caribbean Sea. In mid-2022, we put an eight-metre-high avalanche fence throughout the river to catch the plastic. Quickly after, heavy rains washed about a million kilogrammes of waste down the river in 20 minutes, inflicting the foundations of our fence to fail. Within the image, I’m assessing the aftermath of that occasion. We are actually engineering an improved model of the barrier, which we hope might be in place earlier than the following wet season.
The enterprise of science
There’s a lot we don’t perceive about plastic air pollution within the oceans. Once we began, we knew in regards to the Nice Pacific Rubbish Patch, however we didn’t know the way massive it was or how a lot plastic enters the oceans yearly. Plastic can take many years to interrupt down — within the Pacific rubbish patch, a lot of the garbage is from the Nineties, and we have now even discovered gadgets from the Sixties.
The Ocean Cleanup has greater than 100 workers members, together with scientists. We attempt to be a haven for researchers who need to do utilized analysis and make a distinction. To date, we’ve eliminated round two million kilogrammes of garbage from rivers and the ocean, together with about 200,000 kilogrammes from the Pacific rubbish patch. That’s solely a tiny quantity — about 0.2% of what we estimate is within the rubbish patch. However we hope to dramatically enhance the quantity of plastic eliminated.