UNITED NATIONS FOOD & AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION
This world map derived from a National Geographic source, shows that the North Pacific Gyre is by far the largest - and divided into three regions, the western, sub-tropical-convergence zone and eastern garbage patches. We estimate these patches collectively to be around 80,000 tons in mass.
UNITED NATIONS REPORT JUNE 2014
It all goes back to our dependence on oil. The by product, plastic, is so useful that we could not do without it today. For that reason, we need to take responsibility for our needs, by making provision to clean up our mess sustainably. We cannot afford fleets of trawlers manned by humans to scoop up the harmful soup, and that is where semi-autonomous robots could come to the rescue.
Each year, oil companies remove approximately 3.7 trillion gallons of oil from the earth. This oil is transported by barges, ocean going tankers, and pipelines to refineries and storage facilities. It is inevitable that accidental leaks and spills will take place on a regular basis, where oil is mostly transported across vast oceans. That is the first stage of oil pollution. The second stage is oil byproduct pollution from plastic.
Since 2011, when the UNEP Year Book process last looked at plastic waste in the ocean, concern has grown over microplastics (particles up to 5 mm in diameter, either manufactured or created when plastic breaks down). Their ingestion has been widely reported in marine organisms, including seabirds, fish, mussels, worms and zooplankton.
Youtube ocean pollution
A SEAVAX DRONE - This is a raw proposal for a robot ship that is designed to vacuum up plastic waste from the ocean based on the Bluefish ZCC concept. The vessel is solar and wind powered - and shares component with other ZCC variants. The front end (left) is modified so that there is a wide scoop area, into which plastic waste is funneled as the ship moves forward. The waste is pumped into a large holding bay after treatment, then stored until it can be off-loaded. The rear of the ship (right) carries two large wind turbines that generate electricity in combination with deck mounted solar panels (shown here in blue) to power the onboard processing machinery. The system can be semi-autonomous, such that in robot mode they alert HQ to any potential problems and share data as to progress for backers. A whole cleanup mission can be controlled from land, with visuals and data streams. A SeaVax would operate using a search program called SeaNet.
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