ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem

ocean cleanup project has radically redesigned their trash collecting system, in favour for a pac-man styled system, after tests of their original system found it moved too much due to waves. since their conception around five years ago, ocean cleanup has continuously developed its’ solutions to the plastic waste issue consuming our oceans.

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem

images courtesy of ocean cleanup



the giant ‘pac-man’ system consists of a 600-meter-long floating tube that sits at the surface of the water, with a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below to catch plastic waste. earlier prototypes included anchors that would hang at a depth of 2.5 miles to slow down the system, creating a difference in speed between the system and the plastic, allowing for the plastic to accumulate along the cleanup barrier at the surface. ocean cleanup researchers soon realised this was not enough to slow the u-shaped barriers down enough to catch the plastic and so anchors in the most recent design have been dropped fully.

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem




when the direction of the wind and waves change, this creates an imbalance with the system; and the part of the system with the highest drag is no longer in the far back of the system,‘ it explains on the project’s websitenature doesn’t like being out of balance, so it will automatically correct this. the sides of the system (which, remember, have the least amount of water drag) will then overtake the center of the system that has the highest amount of drag. the result: the system automatically stabilizes itself, and will always directly face the direction it is traveling in.’

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem



the plan is that plastic waste collected by the system will be hauled away by a vessel every few months, and taken to land to be recycled. the final version of their trash-collecting barriers will be towed out to the great pacific garbage patch later this year. accumulated in this area are 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing 80.000 metric tons.

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem



although there is a fair chance this won’t be the last iteration of our ocean cleanup technology,’ the project says.we have high confidence that it addresses the stability issues and that this will be the design responsible for collecting the first plastic from the great pacific garbage patch later this year.

ocean cleanup designs giant pac-man system to gobble up world's plastic waste problem

  • How can you have a current to direct fish under that does not also move small particles?

    Stuart Taylor says:
  • How many times have we seen this, or a variation, of this concept?

    It doesn’t work. It will never cure the problem.

    We simply need to make p,attic bio-degradeable, or stop using it altogether. We managed without it not so long ago.

    For example. In the USA they have brown paper bags to put your supermarket purchases in and Chinese meals are delivered in cardboard tubs. Why has this not translated to other countries?


    Johnb says:
  • So, when I was going through the Oshoro Maru data, I could not help but notice the massive amounts of jellyfish caught in the Pacific Gyre. This makes sense because the gyre will hold them in place and not be advected elsewhere. We know that these animals grow and “degrow” depending upon food availability. But, we don’t know how old they get. These could be truly ancient creatures. We don’t really know much about this ecosystem, or how vulnerable the endemic species are. My concern is that this system will probably create a literal blanket extermination of the macroplankton community. This endeavor needs to be taken very slowly with a lot of external oversight. It would be a bummer to cause extinctions of critters that only live in the gyre.

    Steve says:
  • Good point made Steve,
    However remember this is plastic “bog” is a man made ecosystem, and requires a man-made solution, so any macroplankton community which has grown out of the plastic “bog” will decline with it, naturally. A lot of external oversight of course but also the longer we wait for a perfect solution, the more daunting the problem will be and the damage it is currently causing to marine life.
    personally I’d sacrifice some bloated jellyfish or plastic feeding krill to save billions of fish whales and dolphins.

    lawrence davies says:
  • I hear a lot of negative talk and no real talk about positive moves forward. Good thing these people aren’t working on this project

    Aaron M Kane says:
  • This is a good idea and everything, but my problem is we have a LOT of unemployed personnel living in not just the United States, but all over the world. All the money they are going to spend on this system and all the negative side effects, like what Johnb was saying, could be spent on unemployed personnell that are now employed thanks to Ocean Cleanup, and you would have the human factor in play being able to free all the trapped creatures of the sea. Yes, it would probably take a lot of time, but the fact of putting sea creatures at risk because of our mistake, in my opinion, would be worth it. Their could also be volunteer options available.

    jkacz5 says:
  • No time to wait for perfect solution; onwards to destroy this plastic abomination in our beloved ocean. Hats off to the innovator.

    Broonow says:

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