Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?

Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?

It’s no secret. We have got a trash
problem. Every year, we produce about 300 million metric tons of plastic globally. These plastics
can end up in rivers, oceans, and eventually our food chain. But a group called The Ocean
Cleanup says that their new suite of technologies can help address this growing problem.
When a piece of plastic finds its way into the ocean, exposure to sunlight and the elements
work to break it down into smaller and smaller fragments. Marine animals often mistake plastic
trash for food, which can lead to malnutrition and a potential build-up of toxic chemicals
in their bodies. And since humans are a part of the food chain, plastics find their way
into us, too. With all this in mind, The Ocean Cleanup team
set about tackling the world’s largest accumulation zone: The Pacific trash vortex, or proverbially
known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, It’s an area in the ocean that’s bounded by
the massive North Pacific Subtropical Gyre and about three times the size of France,
containing more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
Here’s how The Ocean Cleanup’s system works. A 160 meter floater gives the system
buoyancy, while an attached extended cork line floats above a 3 meter deep netted skirt.
The skirt is long enough to catch plastic, but short enough for marine creatures to swim
beneath. It’s deeper in the center, so that the current’s pressure pushes the system
into a U-shape, funneling plastic into the net. A parachute at the back drags in the
water to control speed, and the whole system is equipped with GPS to monitor its location.
This October, after a year of system testing and several setbacks along the way—including
a snapped floater—the Ocean Cleanup team has announced that its plastic collecting
system is working. Despite this recent success, the team has
faced its fair share of criticism, as some experts believe that the device could pose
harm to marine life, and particularly neuston, which exclusively live
on the ocean surface. But perhaps the biggest criticism launched against The Ocean Cleanup
has been from those who say that building an expensive structure far from shore ignores
the more practical and cost-effective measures that are already in existence, like volunteer
beach cleanups and waterway technologies like Baltimore’s Mr. Trash Wheel, which can stop
plastic before it reaches the ocean. It looks like The Ocean Cleanup team took
these criticisms seriously, because while they were busy iterating the design of their
offshore ocean cleanup system, they were also working on a super-secret side project. At
a press conference last week, they unveiled The Interceptor— a system designed to capture
plastic closer to shore. More specifically, at the mouth of rivers.
To help focus their efforts on the most-polluting rivers first, the Ocean Cleanup team set about
to measure exactly how much plastic is flowing out of our rivers and entering the ocean.
Based on this research, they found that just 1% of the world’s rivers —or 1,000 out
of 100,000—are responsible for roughly 80% of the ocean’s garbage, with small urban
rivers contributing the most to pollution. They made it their goal to tackle all 1,000
of these rivers by 2025. To catch the waste, the Interceptor is anchored
into the riverbed at a strategic location where plastic is concentrated and boats have
enough room to pass. Plastic waste is guided by the floating barrier into the mouth of
the Interceptor, which the river current helps push onto a conveyor belt. As the debris moves
across the belt, it’s separated from the water and delivered to the shuttle, which
distributes the trash into one of six dumpsters. Sensors detect when the dumpsters are full,
at which point a text is automatically sent to local operators saying that, ahem, “it is
time to take out your trash”. The trash is then carted off to waste management for processing.
At peak performance, this solar-powered device can extract more than 100,000 kilograms of
trash per day. The comparative cost between this and other cleanup efforts is not yet
known, though The Ocean Cleanup says the Interceptors are ultimately cheaper than deploying nothing at all. And their Interceptors are already hard at
work, cleaning up waterways in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Malaysia’s Klang River. The group is also
preparing to deploy two more systems in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and Santo Domingo in the Dominican
Republic, a place you may remember from last year’s viral videos showing giant waves
of plastic garbage after heavy rains. Thailand and LA County are also in talks with the group.
But to see how much plastic The Ocean Cleanup is able to keep from reaching our oceans,
we’ll first need to see how effective the initial Interceptors actually are. To reach
their goal of deploying systems at 1,000 rivers by 2025, it’s estimated that a new Interceptor will need to be deployed every 2 days. The question is, can they really do it? With a little luck, we
may soon see a fleet of these devices tidying up our rivers and oceans for future generations.
If you want to learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage, check out this episode here.
Let us know down in the comments if you liked this video, and don’t forget to subscribe
for more Seeker, thanks for watching.

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100 thoughts on “Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?

  1. Hi! Thanks for watching, want more on how people are working to fight plastic pollution? Check out this video on an infinitely recyclable plastic:

  2. Imagine if we took all the worlds military budgets and used it for cleaning up the planet and developing clean tech instead of weapons development. I'm a soldier myself and I would love to see my job become obsolete.

  3. The most powerful thing BY FAR isn't a revolutionary technology but just recycling, reusing and ultimately reducing yourself.

  4. Lol… With so much if plastic problems I wonder why is or world even allowing plastic production. At least the plastic bags

  5. You know what will stop this? Military intervention of those developing countries dumping trash in the ocean. Looking at you Asia, Africa, oceana.

  6. I believe that, for many years we could see this kind of boats capturing trash. But if we could change our way to consume, if we change our packaging system, we could make a great difference for next generations and then this ship could be something of the past.

  7. "Look my point is this: China alone dumps 15-18 SUPER BARGES FULL OF TRASH everyday! That does not include Taiwan or other country's that choose to dump there garbage in the OCEAN"

  8. I think their efforts are great but where is the plastic going after it has been collected ? I fear that it will end up in the very same rivers and oceans it was just filtered out of. The governments are responsible for banning plastics all together if you ask me.

  9. This is the sorta thing they need in Lake Erie or in India, where all the water pollution is literally destroying the Taj Mahal.

    Also, we need to stop frivolously using plastic.♻️

  10. Third world countries pollute the oceans far more then others how about pressure gets put on them to clean their shit up

  11. Applause for engineering a device to help save the planet and the marine life. Beach volunteers will not be able to do it alone so that belief that beach volunteers is more effective is absolutely asinine.

  12. This is a much more sensible approach. Banning plastics and going to paper does not seem feasible in the long term. We need to stop littering.

  13. How are you going to get people to empty these in countrys where they already dont care or clean there rivers aka India and China

  14. the ones who are criticizing the innovators for coming up with ideas for cleaning our waste out of the the oceans are just jealous because they aren't the one with the ideas.

  15. We're not giving up. I'd rather die trying to conserve the biosphere that supports us than to do nothing, feeling powerless in the face of destruction.

  16. Can we PLEASE stop this "for future generations" bullshit? The biosphere is dying NOW.
    Other than that, good video, thank you.

  17. Where will the trash that's cleaned go after all that?? We need some sort of trash storage, recycling isn't solution for everything since a lot of plastic can't be recycled.

  18. looks like a real solid step is being made in targeting river sources of plastic and debris in general… reassuring that real progress is possible..
    what is the possibility of capturing small pieces of plastics and micro Plastics already in ocean at all depths ?

    what becomes of plastic scooped up by the river cleaners ??? reports are that recycling is a world wide failure….bales are either sitting in back lots of former processors …. or simply landfilled…..orrrrrr returned to the sea !!!!!!!!!

    what is the outlook for airborne micro plastics… recently revealed ?

  19. I was wondering if you were to take out the death factor of a torpedo and use some kind of Hemp fiber….a more reslient way to clean up radiation?

  20. Nope. China is constantly just pumping out shit into the ocean and they are the fastest growing civilization. If you really want to fix it every one would haft to cut ties with China and regulations would haft to be placed. But thats never going to happen cause every one wants that cheep labor and manufacturing so this generation and maybe next are probably good but my grandkids are gonna have some fun because of it. Not saying that other places don’t have an impact but you can look at the sky in China and they sky here and tell we doing it better.

  21. It’s helpful but DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TRASH IS IN THE OCEAN well we will need 2 million of these working for a hundred years strait and and that’s only for this period of times plastic then humans will put more and more plastic. Legit our planet will die shortly

  22. I just want to know what they will do with the trash they clean up. Would they dump it in a landfill or does it go back into the ocean? Plastic is not easy to recycle and 4ocean wasn’t clear about it.

  23. Imagine criticizing this saying ‘this will hurt marine life’ without realizing that the trash is actually the one hurting them.

    ?????????? Bitch what????

  24. The world is dying because all we do is make trash! C'mon we even shit trash, toxic trash! Now our world is dying and we're looking for a new one to destroy. Long live the parasite

  25. I'm glad there are people who care enough about our environment and our future to do something to rid our natural systems of this garbage. We need these types of active down the chain mechanisms in place. But we also should tackle the issue at the source of the problem. I think there are people who intentionally dump this garage into our waterways. They should be stopped. But it is also fairly common knowledge that some people throw garbage onto the ground as a form of disrespect to another person's country or political alignment. Which is the short term sight of that type of persons mentality. This type of negligence will hurt everyone in the long term.

  26. The ship is an awesome start but we should also address plastic pollution at its source. Still though gotta begin somewhere.

  27. Wait that math is horrible…one every two days huh?…by 2025 thats only 915.5…. if you start on 1/1/2020….(excluding leap year)….

  28. 040 Absolute nonsense.

    An area 3 times the size of France covered in plastic??? really? where are the videos? …. this is the kind of bullshit put out by extinction rebellion and other doom mongers

  29. The two largest garbage patches in the ocean are larger than Texas how is this little toy going to clean up that much waste 😂

  30. We in the western world dont dump our rubbish into the worlds oceans.
    Need small pacific nations to stop using the words oceans as a garbage dump.

  31. So they try and do something about it but get back “na what about the jellyfish?!?” Jog on. You wanna make an omelette…

  32. What happened?
    I thought plastic was the answer.
    Tree harvesting was evil.
    ‘ Paper or plastic? ’ 40-50 years ago was
    the question of the century. All too often a facial twitch or verbal inflection would accompany whether or not you ‘ answered wisely ‘,
    Fellow shoppers craned their necks to see whether they would give the nod of approval or the turn of shame.
    How’d that push for plastic turn out for ya……..?

  33. The PROBLEM is that even though water falls from the sky and you can filter it and turn it into drinking water, the government designs houses that have drains that all go to the water company who filter the water for you and pump it all the way back to the house you live in through pipes, and then it is no longer free, you have to give them the monopoly money they demand from you and the only way to get enough of the worthless monopoly money they print is by working in a factory, because to print it yourself is a crime called forgery, when they forge money it's called inflation. This is modern day slavery. Food is also free, it grows on plants, that require only nutrient rich soil, unfiltered water fresh from the sky and the air you exhale, in return for the air you inhale and your sewage that enriches the soil. However the same PROBLEM is the way the government designs houses so that they are too close together, even stacked on top of each other with gardens that are too small or no gardens at all to grow food in, and so you have to slave for them. They like this system of economic enslavement because they don't like to do any work, they like to watch other people suffer and do their work for them. Unfortunately the slave food from shops comes packaged in garbage, wrapped in trash, sealed in rubbish, mostly plastic and then you have to pay to dispose of it. They put chemicals in the food also. THAT is the REAL problem. We are not free. We are economic slaves.

  34. So, is anyone bothering to ask why so many coastal states are dumping in the ocean? Us inland states aren't doing this, so why the hell are you?

  35. As a human on this planet I am embarrassed towards humanity at what we are doing to the planet Earth, the wild life and humans. #SaveOurPlanet #Recycle

  36. Yeah, exactly! So why the hell doesn't oh so smart Elon musk jump aboard and instead of all these satellites, build these type ships!! Now THAT is helping humanity!

  37. Virtually all of these polluting rivers are not in the US / Europe, so send Greta to China and India for once.

  38. I need to understand where the prohibitive cost comes from? all these world saving ideas seem to always be barred by economic "reality" but exactly what is it in this case? labor cost? or are the materials needed to make the structure to energy intensive and therefore expensive? I'm a materials science major and I often wonder about how lighter, less energy intensive/manufactured materials could bring down costs on a number of ideas like this so stupid "economics" doesn't get in the way of saving our asses!

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