Ocean Cleanup project removes 55 tonnes of plastic from the ocean


The Ocean Cleanup project has been busy over the past six weeks, arriving in Victoria to drop off 55 tonnes of plastic hauled out of the ocean.

The two ships docked at Ogden Point are part of a massive project that all started when then-16-year-old Boyan Slat was scuba diving in Greece and was surprised to see more plastic than fish. This made him wonder why we don’t just clean up the plastic.

Flash forward to today, the cleanup project is now successfully doing test runs while trying to clean up the great Pacific garbage patch, which is a surface twice the size of Texas.

The communications director for the Ocean Cleanup project, Joost Dubys, says the way they are collecting the plastic is the first of its kind.

“It’s a very shallow skimmer that goes into the ocean, and at the end of the U-shape, there is a collection bag. We call it a retention zone. You can put three Greyhound buses in there right now. It’s massive,” said Dubys.

With these types of nets in the water, 1.5 miles of distance between both boats holding the net can accumulate a large amount of plastic quickly. After three days of trolling, workers take it out, put it on deck and throw the nets back in. Each haul can amount anywhere from 10 to 15 tonnes.

It takes dozens of people on the boats to make this cleanup work efficiently. Flemming Anderson, a leader in the project, is trying to help clean the planet for the next generation.

“I am happy about this because I am an old guy. I can do something about the legacy to my grandchildren, so that’s actually why I am doing it. I am happy, I am proud of that,” said Anderson.

Ocean Cleanup is also trying to stop further plastic from getting to the ocean by blocking plastic at the mouths of several rivers.

The project is hoping in the next year to scale up its operations and eliminate 90 per cent of the ocean’s plastic by 2040.

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