Ocean Cleanup fail? System in Great Pacific Garbage Patch to corral plastic needs redesign

Ocean Cleanup fail? System in Great Pacific Garbage Patch to corral plastic needs redesign

(Ref. article in USA Today, on 07.12.18 by Elizabeth Weise)

  • Published on December 19, 2018

Sultan Riaz Khan

Tavlon Environmental Technologies Inc

Reference: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/12/06/ocean-cleanup-system-great-pacific-garbage-patch-wont-hold-plastic/2231554002/?fbclid=IwAR0DskzgGc7vEvi6o3IbHH39ay7otiJL8xCytaA7oc1ar3Ai8JL6D0rriY8

The by-line below the vessel’s picture states: “The Ocean Cleanup system deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to sweep up plastic trash at the ocean’s surface.”

Unfortunately there is no “Up” in either Cleanup or Sweep “up”. The purpose of this response is not to be negative or critical but to explain some of the misunderstanding by the public in general, about what Ocean Cleanup boom is, versus what is put out there in the media.

Just to be clear, I have met with the team at Ocean Cleanup and discussed their project and ways we could work together. For the record, they viewed the technology I own but decided to go their own way, which is fine.

The word Cleanup used by the company and in the headlines and marketing, conjures up images of their boom actually removing plastic waste from our oceans. The current “system 001” is a boom. Many people seem to think that a boom can actually clean up. It cannot, because the purpose of a boom is to corral (surround) the plastic. The article clearly explains that so far Ocean Cleanup hasn’t managed to get a functional boom yet alone remove any plastics. So far, Ocean Cleanup’s five year endeavour with massive funding, have come up with a boom that cannot work. With the catchphrase that it is going to ‘Cleanup’ the Oceans. A boom was never intended to physically remove any plastics.

This is the second time Ocean Cleanup have put out a boom. The first one was in the North Sea; it got badly battered. All it takes are force 10-12 winds, 30 meter waves, tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes or, tsunamis – call them what you will, no boom that a human can build is able to withstand the force of Mother Nature.

The article quotes the founder Boyan Slat, stating ‘the system was only retaining the floating plastic pollution it’s meant to pick up “for a relatively short time”. Maybe it is the use of the English language but here, it is not only lost in translation, it lends to misstating what a boom actually does.

Surprisingly after five years: “Unfortunately, the system is moving too slowly at times to keep the plastic inside the U-shaped device, allowing it to float out again. Sometimes the plastic even moves faster than System 001, effectively outrunning it.” The article goes on to say: “studying the problem since it first became evident and have tried various fixes via computer models. But as they expected from the beginning, there’s no replacement for on-the-ground (or in this case in-the-water) experience.”

The article then quotes “The Ocean Cleanup team isn’t exactly sure why things aren’t working that way, though they have a few theories.” Marine engineers, Ocean going Mariners would be able to point out that the weight of the boom and the drag created by the nine foot curtain below the boom, compared to the floating plastic, being lighter, would outrun the boom either by wind or waves and not be able to contain the plastic. The theories of the floating pipe oscillating back and forth like a fish’s fin is a red herring. If and when their “system 001” or “002” is “perfected” and their intention is to deploy 60 such booms, at what cost? There still isn’t a system actually removing the plastic waste. This is still in an R&D phase with a 10 cubic capacity storage solar energy to power it and will need to have ships back and forth sent out to empty it, at what cost?

The media and public need to start looking and focusing on other technologies that already exist that can actually remove plastic waste, not only from land and waterways that lead into the ocean. For actual ocean recovery by the ORCA, it would need to be modified and adapted onto a recovery vessel. Does it make any sense to keep going back to the drawing board with what Ocean Cleanup hope to achieve and spend many more millions? OR start collaborating with others to actually start recovering plastics, as every year that goes by another eight million tonnes of plastics make their way into our oceans AND continue to poison our food chain.

Amongst others out there, one technology to take a look at is the ORCA. This existing award winning technology can make a difference and is certified technology by ABS and Lloyds Register. Take two minutes to see the ORCA in action: www.orcaclean.com/video2minutes. Any replies or further queries about my article or the ORCA, may please be directed to (email):orca@orcaclean.com and invest@orcaclean.com. I can be contacted anytime on: Tel/WhatApp: +316-553-26603. www.orcaclean.com

EcoMagazine: Double Duty, ORCA’s Vortex Technology Cleans Plastic from OceansORCA presentation at Mare Blue Invest in May 17th 2018