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Eco-fact Friday: A Floating Dam Captures Ocean Plastic

We at Water Gallery are vehemently anti-plastic, so whenever a news story comes up about plastic in our oceans, it always sends a chill down our collective spines. However, the story we just read is of the forward-moving, progressive sort when it comes to getting plastic out of our oceans and that's always very exciting for us.

As we've blogged about before here, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an environmental disaster of such magnitude, we have a hard time even thinking about it. The dangers that plastic poses to marine life and the ocean ecosystem is overwhelming and devastating. But the Ocean Cleanup Foundation has come up a revolutionary plan to combat ocean trash: a floating dam, created to trap plastic bags, plastic bottles, and other waste that ends up in our oceans.

It will be tested in 2016 for the first time off the coast of the Netherlands. What's particularly revolutionary about this floating dam is that, unlike previous attempts to remove plastic (and other) waste from our oceans, this method will NOT endanger the marine life with which it will come into contact.

Nets and other forms of trash collection typically ensnare various types of sea life, simply posing another type of danger for the marine life they're trying to protect. But this new floating dam will allow the marine life to swim through unharmed.

By the year 2020, the goal of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation is to install a 100-km long V-shaped floating barrier at the site of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Each arm of the V will consist of a screen three meters deep that will trap waste and send it to a central area of the barrier where it can then be collected for recycling.

Ocean Clean-up Floating Dam

This is a very hopeful step in the right direction for our world's serious ocean trash problem. Of course the REAL solution begins with each of us and the items we choose to utilize each day. Avoid single-use plastic at all costs.

If we don't choose single-use plastic, we won't be responsible for it ending up in our oceans and waterways. Choose reusable items whenever possible, so that waste of any sort is avoided. But for the damage that's sadly already been done, this is a step in the right direction.

As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes make a huge difference.


Feb 03, 2016 • Posted by Brittany

I am very curious as to how the dam will do. I hope for a positive outcome. I support anything that helps the environment and marine life.

Jan 08, 2016 • Posted by John Carter

What an awesome idea! This would benefit the whole world!!!

Jan 06, 2016 • Posted by Sandra Sozzi

I currently started a FREE Arts and Crafts class and educate on the endless possibilities to recycling household trash. Save bottles, jars, fabric, plastic, really anything not organic and bring into classroom and we turn into Beautiful Art. I use only water based Acrylic paints at my Canvas classes. Thank you for continuing to educate society. I will continue to do my part and educate my community with your help. Keep the info coming.

Jan 05, 2016 • Posted by Nancy

Plastic water bottles are a big pet peeve of mine. The brilliant idea of a floating dam to clean up the Oceans and waterways of our BLUE planet sounds quite promising for future generations. We need to teach children while they are young to reduce, reuse, recycle and most importantly CONSERVE EARTH !

Jan 05, 2016 • Posted by LuAnn

So happy to hear!

Jan 04, 2016 • Posted by Kayle Dover

This sounds awesome! I get very upset when I see all the trash in our beautiful oceans

Jan 04, 2016 • Posted by Bets Bloom

It’s so sad to see garbage affecting sea life. I’m glad there is work being done to clean up our oceans. It looks like a great invention.

Jan 04, 2016 • Posted by Connie

Kudos to Ocean Cleanup Foundation on their efforts to clean up our oceans. Hopefully the dam will make a difference and is a step in the right direction. I agree that people need to be more responsible about not using single use plastics, unfortunately it seems like we’re a long way off from that happening. Everything seems to be disposable now.

Jan 04, 2016 • Posted by Denise H

This sounds wonderful! I look forward to hearing how the process works in the Netherlands. In the meantime, I will reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve!

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